Slightly charred and still hot-out-of-the-oven cauliflower is the base for a simple but tangy and flavorful caper dressing. Paired with sweet dates, dried cranberries and crunchy almonds, it’s the perfect warm salad that can be enjoyed on its own as a light and satisfying main dish for lunch, or an elegant side to your favorite dinnertime entrée.
For the cauliflower salad: Remove the core and leaves from the cauliflower, then use your hands and a knife to break apart and coarsely chop the florets into about 2- to 3-inch pieces. Spread on a baking sheet and drizzle generously with the oil. Season with salt. Toss to coat, then roast until the cauliflower is tender and slightly crisp around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the caper vinaigrette: Combine the garlic, lemon zest and juice, oil, vinegar, parsley, capers, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl. Add the dates, almonds, cranberries and capers. Pour in about 1/3 cup of the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Taste and add additional dressing as desired (you won’t need all of it). Sprinkle with the crushed red pepper flakes if desired and serve warm.
The leftover caper vinaigrette can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.