shaved cauliflower & farro salad

there's a certain salad i've been remaking on repeat ever since our yoga retreat last month. i've made it for all my clients with rave reviews, and most recently brought it to a yogisthanksgiving gathering. i'm remaking it one more time for our meal with my family tomorrow night, but i doubt it will stop there. i still haven't tired myself of it...

the inspiration for this recipe came from my friend becca, who adopted it from a salad on the menu at rock creek in fremont. she assisted me with the food for our yoga retreat and added this crowd pleasing salad to the retreat menu. we served this salad to our guests along with a kabocha squash lemongrass stew that was incredible (recipe from nigel slater's cookbook 'tender' but you can find a version here)... it was a winning combo! i've been fiddling with different versions and various vinaigrettes and have finally settled on a recipe to share with you all! it's the perfect contribution to a holiday potluck or a nourishing meal to balance out all the holiday feasting! 

this past weekend i was house/dog sitting for my sister and wandered with her pup over to the university district farmers market. i was so excited to find a pile of vibrant purple cauliflower at nash's farm!!! they are tricky to track down in the grocery markets... but you can certainly use other heirloom varieties like "cheddar" cauliflower, or even romanesco for to mix in some color with regular white cauliflower. 

shaved cauliflower salad ~ serves 6-8 
2 small heads cauliflower (purple, "cheddar," white or romanesco)
3/4 cup emmer farro
1 cup shaved parmesan (about 4 oz) 
1/4 cup or more toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons pickled peppers (mama lil's or sweet piquante peppers), diced 
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley, roughly chopped

bring farro to a boil with 6 cups of water and simmer for about 45 minutes until chewy but tender (i usually pull it off the stove once i see a few grain berries start to split). strain and rinse with cool water. 

trim cauliflower leaving the stem intact and broken into large florets. use a mandoline slicer to thinly slice florets - thin enough that they are a not quite translucent. i use the mandoline to do the bulk of the slicing, and whatever i can't slice without slicing my fingers i chop finely with a knife or just save those leftover florets for a stir fry. if you don't have a mandoline, you could use a food processor attachment to shave the cauliflower instead, but it will turn into more of a cauliflower "rice" texture than shaved cauliflower. 

toast pine nuts in 350-degree oven or on stove top until gently browned and fragrant. shave parmesan, chop pickled peppers and parsley and set aside. when ready to serve, mix ingredients together with a light amount of vinaigrette to start and add more to taste (you don't have to use the full cup of vinaigrette) 

creamy cashew vinaigrette ~ makes about 1 cup 
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1 tablespoon maple syrup 
1 heaping tablespoon cashew butter (raw or roasted) 
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
large pinches salt and pepper 

use blender or whisk to combine. if you don't have cashew butter on hand, you could substitute 2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds or pine nuts and blend with remaining ingredients in high speed blender. i didn't want to spend $14 on a jar of cashew butter, but i was able to find one of those tiny single serving nut butter snacks for like 75 cents. if storing in fridge for later use, it will thicken... use a splash of hot water to thin and serve.