Shaved Cauliflower, Fennel, and Beet Salad with Parmesan Dressing

December 30, 2017
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a side
Author Notes

Sometimes, salads are just a way to eat more cheese. Bring on the feta crumbles, goat cheese blobs, and pecorino shards. This dressing cuts to the chase with lots of ground parmesan, chock-full of umami. Don’t use pre-grated—it’s usually mixed with anti-caking agents labeled as “cellulose.” I like to grind chunks in a food processor until fine. Or, just use a microplane or the smallest holes on a grater. What you will need is a mandoline to shave the vegetables. Play around with the combination—just make sure it’s crunchy, crunchy, crunchy. Think carrots, radishes, daikon, turnips. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is part of Change The Way You Cook, a new series to help anyone (yes, you!) become smarter, faster, and more freewheeling in the kitchen. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Parmesan vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup freshly ground (or finely grated) parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Salad
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 bulb of fennel (cut lengthwise, stem still attached)
  • 2 small beets, preferably red and golden, peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground or finely grated parmesan, for garnish
  1. Parmesan vinaigrette
  2. Combine the parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a jar with a lid. Close and shake, shake, shake until creamy and emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  1. Salad
  2. Break the cauliflower into big florets. Shave on a mandoline into 1/8”-thick slices—if they’re too thin, they’ll fall apart—directly into a large bowl. Halve the fennel half, lengthwise, leaving the stem attached (this ensures pretty fennel cross-sections). Shave each fennel quarter on the mandoline into paper-thin slices, directly into the bowl. Shave each beet on the mandoline into paper-thin slices, directly into the bowl. Sprinkle with a couple big pinches of salt and toss gingerly with your hands.
  3. Dress the salad—you’ll use all of the vinaigrette—and toss again with your hands. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary. (This can keep in the fridge for a couple hours.) Shower with more ground parmesan just before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Fran McGinty
    Fran McGinty
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Barbara Currey
    Barbara Currey
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

4 Reviews

Barbara C. June 2, 2019
Do you need to blanch or steam the beets first or are they supposed to be raw?
Emma L. June 3, 2019
They're supposed to be raw! When sliced super thin, raw beets remind me a lot of carrots—crunchy, sweet, and refreshing.
Fran M. January 14, 2018
OMG. This is so wonderful. Just wonderful!!
Emma L. June 3, 2019
Sorry for my delay here, Fran, but thanks! So glad you enjoyed.