Crackling Cauliflower (Whole Foods Cauliflower Salad)

Inspired by the Whole Foods salad bar, this crackling cauliflower is a roasted cauliflower salad loaded with curry flavor, green peas, red onions and cilantro. It’s perfect for potlucks because the dish can be served cold or a room-temp.

A curried cauliflower salad with green peas and cilantro in a large white bowl with a gold spoon.

Cracklin’ Cauliflower is my second favorite thing from the Whole Foods salad bar (Garlicky Kale is my first, in case you were wondering) and like most food related things I fall in love with, I recreated this dish at home so I could make it whenever my heart desires. Which is awesome because it’s hit or miss when my Whole Foods will actually have this available on the bar.

Roasted cauliflower and red onion on a stone baking sheet.

Curry roasted cauliflower, green peas and cilantro in a large white bowl.

Mixing the roasted curried cauliflower with the green peas and cilantro using a gold spoon.

So about the dish, the base is roasted cauliflower and it includes a number of fragrant spices including curry, garam masala, fennel seed, fresh ginger and garlic. Don’t let the spices scare you though… I think I got my garam masala, fennel and curry from Penzey’s Spices, but you should be able to find them all at most grocery stores. And other than measuring, throwing the spices into a bowl and roasting the cauliflower, this dish comes together rather quickly — unless of course you accidentally get the curry sauce on your white pants and have to do an emergency load of bleached whites in the process. Not that I would know about that or anything…

A curried cauliflower salad with green peas and cilantro in a large white bowl with a gold spoon.

The texture of the roasted cauliflower is perfect (not too crunchy and not too soft) and it takes on the flavor of the curry sauce so well. You get a nice spiciness from the ginger and red pepper, which is balanced by a sweetness from the peas.

If you make this crackling cauliflower, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how it turned out. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers!

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A curried cauliflower salad with green peas and cilantro in a large white bowl.

Crackling Cauliflower

  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4


This curried cauliflower salad is a great dish for potlucks because it can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature. 


  • 1 bunch cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Take frozen peas out of the freezer and let thaw while preparing the cauliflower.
  3. Combine oil and spices (curry powder through ground pepper) and toss with cauliflower and red onion until all pieces are well-coated. Place cauliflower in a baking dish and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes for even cooking. The cauliflower should be crisp-tender and golden brown when done.
  4. Place in a serving bowl, then stir in peas and cilantro. Let cool a bit and serve.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: about 1 cup
  • Calories: 235
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 985mg
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: curried cauliflower salad, curried cauliflower, cracklin cauliflower, crackling cauliflower

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Recipe rating

    1. Cyndi
      January 27, 2021 AT 12:30 pm

      Fantastic recipe ~ a new favorite! I did get the ingredient list from Whole Foods and it includes lemon juice as the 4th ingredient so i added some of that to taste. I also couldn’t find fennel seeds so left them out. It was still REALLY good. I’ve only had it warm so can’t comment on how it is as a chilled salad. In any case, thank you for posting this recipe. I will be using it often!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 27, 2021 AT 6:58 pm

        Ahh yay!! So glad you loved this recipe, Cyndi. Thanks for coming back to leave a review, I so appreciate it!

    2. Ruby X
      September 13, 2020 AT 2:41 am

      Fabulous recipe! My roommate and I were literally fighting over the leftovers. Definitely will become a staple dish for me.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 14, 2020 AT 3:14 pm

        Haha love it!! So glad this recipe was a hit. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it, Ruby!

    3. Catherine
      March 6, 2020 AT 11:26 am

      Yummy! I also added some mustard seeds to the spices. I will definitely make this again!

    4. Theo
      April 12, 2017 AT 1:27 pm

      You are the real MVP for this recipe!!
      I just had it for the first time and am accustomed to things disappearing from the salad bar So immediately went searching for the recipe. I actually like to eat this warm instead of cold.

    5. Dana Mason
      September 10, 2016 AT 6:53 pm

      Superb! So happy I stumbled across this recipe today. It is just as yummy, perhaps more so, as the Whole Foods dish. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    6. MJ
      April 29, 2014 AT 6:07 pm

      love the crackling cauliflower AND the kale salad.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 29, 2014 AT 6:11 pm

        Thanks so much MJ. I always love getting feedback about my recipes. Crackling Cauliflower is one of my absolute favorites.

    7. Megan (The Lyons’ Share)
      September 20, 2013 AT 11:46 am

      This looks amazing! Something about the combination of cauliflower with a little spice is always delicious!

    8. Cate
      September 18, 2013 AT 1:45 pm

      I can’t wait to try this! Love cauliflower and all those spices! Thanks so much for sharing!

    9. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen
      September 18, 2013 AT 10:21 am

      I am a wee bit homesick for Virginia, for all of y’all, right now! Thank you for now recreating what is also my second favorite Whole Foods hot bar item…especially as the closest Whole Foods is over an hour away now…I just might have to give this a go ASAP. 🙂 [Your Garlicky Kale recipe was spot-on, so I bet this is, too!]

    10. Lisa
      September 17, 2013 AT 3:47 pm

      Definitely will be trying out this recipe! I love cauliflower and the spices sound like they’d go so well together. Kind of excited for this.

    11. Magen Singleton
      September 17, 2013 AT 2:03 pm

      This looks all delish!

    12. Sam Terry
      September 17, 2013 AT 6:51 am

      Wow, did that recipe work for me! I was curious to try it because I often cook broccoli with almost no water, olive oil, garlic and curry (low heat with lid) and serve it with basmati rice. This had similar ingredients…it was great!

    13. Liz @ iheartvegetables
      September 17, 2013 AT 6:44 am

      I think you definitely converted some cauliflower skeptics on Saturday!! This stuff was SO good! I’m going to have to add cauliflower to my next Relay order! 😉

    14. Deb @ Dietitian Debbie Dishes
      September 16, 2013 AT 8:51 pm

      Yum! I love roasted cauliflower (it’s both super easy and yummy!), but haven’t tried adding these Indian inspired spices. Definitely going to try this one soon!

    15. jodye @ whole pure recipes
      September 16, 2013 AT 7:50 pm

      I’ve never had Whole Foods’ cracklin cauliflower, but I sure want to make your version! Cauliflower is my all time favorite veggie, so I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy it. My go to potluck dish (this year, anyway) has become a maple dijon quinoa salad with a side of guacamole (that I tend to horde all for myself, shh…) It’s a crowd pleaser and I always know that I’ll have something to enjoy!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 16, 2013 AT 10:33 pm

        Oh wow! I think I need that maple dijon quinoa salad in my life. That sounds delicious and I love bringing quinoa to potlucks too. Such an easy protein option. And yes, guac is always a winner in my book.

    16. Amanda
      September 16, 2013 AT 6:24 pm

      I love cauliflower in any form and this looks amazing with the peas and spices. Can’t wait to try it!

    17. Sydney
      September 16, 2013 AT 5:43 pm

      This was SUCH a good recipe! I will be making it again, esp as Andrew loved it too!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 16, 2013 AT 10:31 pm

        Yay! Thank you Sydney. I’m glad Andrew liked it as well.

    18. Tim Vidra
      September 16, 2013 AT 12:57 pm

      These spices go so well with cauliflower! I love this dish!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 16, 2013 AT 10:30 pm

        Thanks Tim. 🙂

    19. Shannon
      September 16, 2013 AT 11:18 am

      Who knew that the veggies would be my favorite part of the dinner!?! This was one of my favorites and I am very impressed at how simple the recipe looks compared to how flavorful the dish was to eat.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 16, 2013 AT 10:30 pm

        Thanks Shannon. It was great to see you and Evan’s apple pie was amazing!

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