Roasted Cauliflower Salad with an Indian twist!

July 14, 2021 (Last Updated: July 27, 2021)

This is unlike any other roasted cauliflower salad you know! It has a tomato thokku spiced cauliflower that is roasted, fresh bell peppers, tomatoes, herbs and garnished with a mix of seeds. Yes, you read that right. I call this ‘Call all the colours in the house’ salad.

I love pickles, those concentrated flavour bombs. When I talk pickles,I am talking about the varied range of Indian pickles. Why buy a salad dressing when you have a range of flavours at home?

Here, I have used some homemade tomato thokku to marinate a kickass cauliflower salad!

I need my food to look as good as it tastes ( ok, if not better). So, when I started eating ‘salads’ everyday for dinner in a grand plan last year, I learned a 100 different ways to make it look and taste awesome. Since I am such a Madras soul still ( I mean, team rasam mammu forever), I end up adding my influences and twists to any normally ‘western’ food. Some might turn their noses at it – but I have actually really enjoyed Pulikaichal Pasta. What’s not to like in a dish that has familiar flavours, new textures? Such a win!

A note on how I use the term ‘Salads

This is my personal favourite for a salad – over half the plate with vegetables/herbs/greens in some form. The other half can be a mix of more veggies or some carbs, and some toppings like nuts and seeds.

For a vegetable only salad like this, I take it slightly above that and try and keep it to three fourths of the plate being just vegetables. Since it is hard to simply bite into kale and avocado ( and get your mouth to ache), I prefer to use variety of cooking techniques for the vegetables.

In this salad, I am roasting them. I also have salad recipes where I pickle, marinate, pan fry, steam, flash cook/microwave, air fry or just chop and add raw. Because, the end goal is to EAT MORE VEGGIES!

This ‘salad’ has oven roasted cauliflowers that are marinated in a ‘tomato thokku’ sauce. Crispy, tangy and spicy!

I’ve then mixed it with fresh vegetables – onions for sharpness, bell peppers for sweetness, tomatoes for some tangy juiciness and cucumbers for some freshness. I also had some steamed broccoli at home, so threw it in too. Why say no to some more greens?

Variations of the Roasted Cauliflower salad.

You can mix and match this salad to suit your tastes.

Don’t like raw onions? Omit it!

No bell peppers at home? Leave it off.

Want to add some protein? Cooked chickpeas/kidney beans will go really well!

And finally, I know someone will say this..all good, but I dont have tomato thokku. I hear you sista’. I do.

Use your favourite thokku instead. The idea is simple – to use a concentrated thokku as a marinade flavour booster. I love the same recipe with Grand Sweets Onion Thokku and Telugu brand Gongura Thokku. You may have to adjust the amount of thokku based on the spice levels. Use the recipe as a guideline and make it your own!

Cauliflower Salad with Thokku

I love pickles, those concenrated flavour bombs. Why buy a salad dressing when you have a range of pickles at home? Here, I have used some homemade tomato thokku to marinate a kickass cauliflower salad!
Course Salad
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Arch


For the thokku roasted cauliflower

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (if necessary)
  • 2 tbsp tomato thokku (I used homemade tomato thokku that is not very spicy, but is tangy. Adjust chilli and lemon based on what thokku you are using)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (if necessary)
  • 2 tbsp oil

For salad

  • 1/4 cup thickly sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup thickly sliced bellpeppers (or the sweet chillies we get in summers work too)
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (if using regular tomaotes, deseed and chop into large quarters)
  • 1/4 cup steamed broccoli/beans (optional)
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


Prep Work

  • Blanch the cauliflower florets. I prefer to do this in a microwave. To a large bowl, add the florets, 2 tbsp water to a covered bowl and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. It should be fork tender.
  • You can also do this by adding it to a pot to boiling water and keeping it covered for 4-5 minutes, with the heat turned low. This step cuts down the cooking time in oven, so I'd highly recommend doing it.
  • In a large bowl, add the rice flour, turmeric, red chilli powder, half the oil ( 1 tbsp) and mix well to breadcrumb consistency.
  • Drain any water off the cauliflower and add it to the flour mix. Now, add thokku of your choice and mix well (ideally using your hands, so it gets into the corners of the cauliflower)

Roasting Cauliflower

  • In a greased baking sheet, spread the cauliflower pieces and add 1 tbsp oil coating it evenly.
  • Bake at 200C for 20 minutes. Around half time, remove the tray and toss the florets around so it browns evenly.
  • Each oven is different, so keep an eye and remove when it's well roasted and brown in some parts. Mine takes 20-25 minutes usually.

Assembling the salad

  • Mix all the vegetables you are using with salt and pepper.
  • Top with roasted cauliflower and mint leaves
  • Serve over a bed of spinach, and top with mixed seeds if you like it.


If you are using a different thokku, ensure you balance the tang and spice appropriately. For a very spicy pickle, leave out the red chilli powder in the recipe and for a very tangy pickle, leave out the lemon juice and add a teaspoon of honey/sugar.
I’d recommend a thokku than a pickle for this recipe because the texture is usually homogeneous and will blend well into a marinade. 

This recipe was first shared by me on my Instagram in July 2020.

Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and will help other readers.

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