Warm Fregola Salad with Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Jump to RecipeLeave a Comment

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Warm Fregola Sarda Salad with Roasted Cauliflower is a Mediterranean-inspired dish featuring toasted pasta pearls, perfectly roasted cauliflower, and a zesty citrus basil vinaigrette. It is a healthy and comforting pasta salad. Serve warm or cold.

You will also love Baked Fregola with Zucchini.

warm fregola salad in a white serving bowl with gold salad servers in the salad ready to serve.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Best Fregola Salad

Fregola is a pasta shape dear to my heart since it’s from Sardegna! This tasty salad makes a hearty side dish or lighter main meal. The nutty fregola pasta makes this dish stand out among other pasta salad recipes.

It’s a delicious and satisfying dish with a wonderful mix of flavors and textures.

Try my warm white bean salad and chopped salad recipe!

warm fregola salad in a white serving bowl with gold salad servers next to it. Fork in the bowl ready to eat.

Simple Ingredients

ingredient shot for fregola salad.
  • Fregola Sarda (durum wheat semolina fregola pasta)
  • Cauliflower
  • Green olives
  • Arugula
  • Paprika
  • Pine nuts
ingredients for the dressing on the warm fregola salad.
  • Citrus (lemon and orange)
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Black pepper

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Fregola Salad (step-by-step photos)

how to make warm fregola salad step-by-step: seasoning the cauliflower in a bowl.

Roast the Cauliflower: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss the cauliflower florets with a generous amount of olive oil—season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

how to make warm fregola salad step-by-step: roasting the cauliflower in a sheet pan.

Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet or baking tray and roast for about 20-25 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Toss them halfway through for even roasting.

how to make warm fregola salad step-by-step: cooking the fregola al dente.

Cook Fregola Pasta: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the Fregola Sarda according to the package instructions (usually around 10-12 minutes, or until al dente). Drain and add to a large, shallow serving or large mixing bowl. 

how to make warm fregola salad step-by-step: making the dressing for the salad.

Make the Citrus Basil Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, honey or maple syrup, minced garlic, chopped basil, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

how to make warm fregola salad step-by-step: salad ingredients in a bowl ready to mix.

Assemble the Salad: In the serving bowl, combine the cooked Fregola Sarda, roasted cauliflower, chopped green olives, and arugula.

how to make warm fregola salad step-by-step: tossing salad ingredients.

Drizzle the citrus basil vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat all the ingredients evenly. Add the toasted pine nuts and dried cherries (optional) to the salad and gently toss once more to incorporate.

Serve: This salad can be served warm or at room temperature. You can garnish with extra fresh basil leaves if desired.

up close photo of the salad.

Substitutions

Substituting ingredients in recipes can be a great way to accommodate dietary preferences, or simply to work with what you have. Here are some common ingredient substitutions for your Warm Fregola Sarda Salad with Roasted Cauliflower:

  • Fregola Sarda Substitutions:
    • You can replace fregola sarda with Israeli couscous, pearl couscous, regular couscous, or orzo pasta.
  • Cauliflower Substitutions:
    • Try using broccoli florets or Brussels sprouts as a substitute for cauliflower.
  • Green Olives Substitutions:
    • Kalamata olives, black olives, or capers can be used instead of green olives.
  • Arugula Substitutions:
    • Spinach, baby kale, or mixed greens can be used in place of arugula.
  • Pine Nuts Substitutions:
    • You can substitute pine nuts with slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, or sunflower seeds.
a bowl of the warm fregola salad ready to eat.

Variations

Customize your Warm Fregola Sarda Salad with Paprika-Roasted Cauliflower to suit your taste or make it even more unique. Here are some recipe variations and additional ingredients you can consider:

  • Protein Additions:
    • Add grilled chicken, shrimp, or roasted chickpeas for extra protein.
    • Try seared halloumi or feta cheese for a delicious vegetarian option.
  • Vegetable Options:
    • Include roasted red peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, or steamed asparagus for extra color and flavor.
    • Mix in some sautéed spinach or kale for added greens.
  • Herb Variations:
    • Experiment with different herbs like cilantro, fresh parsley, or mint leaves in the vinaigrette or as garnish. Add some fennel seeds for a tasty variation.
  • Nuts and Seeds:
    • Instead of pine nuts, try using almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds for a different nutty crunch.
  • Citrus Choices:
    • Use grapefruit, lime juice, or even blood orange juice for a unique twist in the vinaigrette.
  • Spices and Heat:
    • If you enjoy a bit of heat, add red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the vinaigrette.
  • Cheese Options:
    • Try grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or crumbled goat cheese for a different cheesy element.
  • Grilled Veggies:
    • Grill the cauliflower and other vegetables for a smoky flavor.

Storage

To store the Warm Fregola Sarda Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, separating the dressing if possible. Consume within 2-3 days for the best quality and flavor. It’s even better the next day!

Top Tips

  • Cooking Fregola Sarda: Cook the pasta al dente (with a slight firmness to the bite) because it will absorb some dressing and continue to soften as it sits.
  • Mix and Serve Warm: To enjoy this salad warm, combine all the ingredients just before serving. The heat from the roasted cauliflower and freshly cooked pasta will warm up the rest of the components.
  • Customize: Feel free to customize this salad with your favorite ingredients or those you have on hand. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different herbs, proteins, or grains.
  • Make-Ahead: You can roast the cauliflower and prepare the vinaigrette in advance. When ready to serve, warm them up slightly and toss with the other ingredients.
  • Garnishes: Fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, make for a great finishing touch. You can also add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for extra flavor.
  • Presentation: Serve the salad in a large, shallow bowl or platter for a stunning presentation. The colors and textures will be beautifully displayed.
warm fregola salad in a white serving bowl with gold salad servers next to it. Bite with a fork holding up to see.

FAQs

What is Fregola Sarda?

Fregola Sarda is a type of Sardinian pasta that looks like small, toasted pearls. It has a unique nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture.

Can I make this salad in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the components in advance. Roast the cauliflower and prepare the vinaigrette ahead of time. Mix everything together just before serving for the best results.

Can I make this salad gluten-free?

Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta such as gluten-free couscous or quinoa to make this salad gluten-free.

What is the difference between fregola and couscous.

The main difference between fregola and couscous is their texture. Fregola is a toasted Sardinian pasta with a firmer, chewier texture, while couscous is North African and has a softer, fluffier texture.

Is fregola a pasta or a grain?

Fregola is a unique pasta variety originating from Sardinia, Italy. It consists of small, toasted semolina wheat balls that resemble couscous but have a distinct nutty flavor and a chewier texture due to the toasting process. Fregola is a versatile ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, often used in salads, soups, or as a side dish.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

What to Serve with Fregola Salad

Ideas to serve with this warm fregola salad recipe:

💙 MADE THIS RECIPE AND LOVED IT? 💙 Please leave a ⭐️STAR rating and COMMENT below- I love connecting with you! Tag me with your creations on Instagram and find me on Pinterest.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
cover photo.

Warm Fregola Salad with Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

Warm Fregola Sarda Salad with Roasted Cauliflower is a Mediterranean-inspired dish featuring toasted pasta pearls, perfectly roasted cauliflower, and a zesty citrus basil vinaigrette. It is a healthy and comforting pasta salad. Serve warm or cold.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Salad: 

  • 1 cup Fregola Sarda (pearl pasta)
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup Castelvertrano green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Citrus Basil Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Roast the Cauliflower: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss the cauliflower florets with a generous amount of olive oil—season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet or baking tray and roast for about 20-25 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Toss them halfway through for even roasting.
  2. Make the Citrus Basil Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, honey or maple syrup, minced garlic, chopped basil, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  3. Cook Fregola Pasta: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the Fregola Sarda according to the package instructions (usually around 10-12 minutes, or until al dente). Drain and add to a large, shallow serving or large mixing bowl. 
  4. Assemble the Salad: In the serving bowl, combine the cooked Fregola Sarda, roasted cauliflower, chopped green olives, and arugula. Drizzle the citrus basil vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat all the ingredients evenly. Add the toasted pine nuts and dried cherries (optional) to the salad and gently toss once more to incorporate.
  5. Serve: This salad can be served warm or at room temperature. You can garnish with extra fresh basil leaves if desired.

Notes

Warm Fregola Sarda Salad with Roasted Cauliflower is a Mediterranean-inspired dish featuring toasted pasta pearls, perfectly roasted cauliflower, and a zesty citrus basil vinaigrette. It is a healthy and comforting pasta salad. Serve warm or cold.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

You May Also Like

About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

1 Comment