Romanesco Salad


Romanesco broccoli salad with steamed romanesco florets, red onions, celery, parsley, capers, marinated in vinaigrette

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Have you ever cooked with romanesco? Also called romanesco cauliflower or romansco broccoli, it is indeed of the brassica family and looks like a mathematician’s fractal experiment run wild.

It’s almost too pretty to eat. But eat it we shall. Romanesco is closer in taste to cauliflower than to broccoli, but milder and nuttier than either. 

Romanesco Salad

In this recipe we are first steaming the romanesco florets, then lightly tossing them in a red wine vinaigrette, along with thinly sliced red onion, celery, parsley, capers, and lemon zest. We then leave everything to marinate for a bit, so the dressing seeps in, lightly pickling it.

So good! If romanesco is not available where you are, you could easily do the same treatment with cauliflower.


Romanesco Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Marinating time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Prep the ingredients while you are steaming the romanesco in the first step.


  • 2 heads of romanesco (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
  • Salt
  • 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large red onion, or one small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 anchovy, minced (optional, omit if cooking vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil


1 Steam romanesco wedges: Cut the romanesco heads into quarters, stalk to tip. Cut out the tough core and any outside green leaves. Cut again lengthwise.

Place into a steamer basket in a pot with about an inch of water.  Sprinkle the romanesco florets with a little salt. Bring water to a boil. Cover and steam until just tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove romanesco florets from steamer, place into a bowl, and chill.

2 Soak onion slices in water a few minutes: Thinly slice the red onion, across the grain. Place the red onion slices in a bowl and cover with water. This will take the onion-y edge off the onion, making it easier to eat raw in the salad.

3 Make dressing with smashed garlic, vinegar, salt, anchovy, olive oil: Smash the whole clove of garlic (not cut, just smash with the flat side of a chef's knife) and place in the bottom of a small bowl. Add the vinegar and salt, stir to dissolve the salt. Add the minced anchovy if using. Then whisk in the olive oil.

4 Marinate romanesco, celery, onion, parsley, capers, zest in dressing: Break up the wedges of romanesco into smaller chunks of florets. Place into a large serving bowl.

Add celery, onions (drained of the water), parsley, capers, and lemon zest.

Remove the garlic clove from the dressing and add dressing to the romanesco salad.

Toss to coat with the dressing. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour. Even better overnight.

Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to serve.

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Roasted Romanesco with Meyer Lemon Salsa from Naturally Ella

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

8 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Judi

    I am so thrilled that my market continues to have Romanesco. Making it for the 4th time tonight. What a delicious recipe! Thanks!!


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  2. Cactus Wren


  3. Mara

    Made this last night – didn’t have any anchovies on hand, but it was fantastic! (I did have to take a picture of the Romanesco before cutting – it is the most amazing looking vegetable) Thanks for the reminder about taking the edge off of onions – very helpful.


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  4. Tracy

    How timely! I live in Tokyo and don’t see Romanesco very often. I love the way it looks and tastes, though so I buy it whenever I see it. I found some yesterday and snapped it up, thinking what should i do with it…think I’ll check Simply Recipes. Thanks so much, Elise; this recipe looks really good!

  5. Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living

    Elise, love how naturally beautiful romanesco is – I made roasted romanesco recently and it was so pretty on the plate!

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