If you’ve been tuning in here for any length of time, you might have noticed that I am a bit of a fan of cauliflower salads. In this recipe, I am sharing a totally new variation, dressed with a delightful vegan pesto.

I am using cashews, lime and basil as the main ingredients for the  pesto dressing. It’s delicious ‘alternative’ to traditional versions of the recipe.

Since everything here in the ‘Kind Earth Kitchen’ is deliciously vegan, I often find myself making dairy-free alternatives to recipes that might traditionally contain cheese (like regular pesto).

Two different ways to prepare your cauliflower

Let me mention first, that we can actually make this salad two ways, with a very simple variation. Essentially, you can either cut up your cauliflower into small little, cute florets OR you can roughly chop it and pop it into a food processor for a few seconds. This will  create a sort of ‘cauliflower rice’ effect.

I love both methods. It’s just a matter of what you fancy at the time (or whether you have a food processor).

Here’s a photo of my ‘cauliflower rice’ version. I made this  very one, the other day on a retreat, for the guests who I was serving. Now I did use a lot more cauliflower that day, so there was a bit less pesto in the ratio. It was still nice, although I usually prefer MORE pesto (as in the main recipe I’ve written out below)…

Cashew lime pesto with cauliflower salad by Trinity #dairyfree #vegan

That zingy, delicious, cashew, lime pesto

Yum! I started making pesto with  sunflower & pumpkin seeds about 15 years ago, when I explored a lot of ‘raw-vegan’ alternatives. Pestos of various varieties show up regularly in my cuisine. They add a fabulous variation to salads, whilst bringing in an extra dose of nutritional value – and that wonderful splash of green.

I don’t use cashews often, but they do work nicely in a pesto. That’s what I am using here today. They cream up well and bring a subtle (yet not over powering) flavour to the blend.

I am using limes in this recipe too. You could also use lemons, if you don’t have limes (lemons work just as well). I just like the variation.

Limes are often described as being more ‘bitter’, whilst limes more ‘sour’. Some people find that limes have a ‘smoother’ taste too. I use them interchangeably. Their health benefits are said to be pretty much identical.


Using the hand blender option to make this pesto

I use a hand blender to make my pesto, but you can try a jug blender or food processor if you like.

I find with pesto, it helps to use a high powered hand blender so that I can really get in there. With a jug blender or food processor, we have to keep scraping down the sides until it blends (which works fine too). Good hand blenders work particularly well for smaller quantities.

You can find the hand blender I use here: My hand blender I recommend a brand like Braun or Phillips and wouldn’t go under 550W of power (mine is actually 700W and I can use it for just about anything).

Once you’ve made the pesto, just mix the whole lot into the cauliflower. (Although I always like to pop a sneaky bit to the side to go on a cracker later.)

This serves nicely as part of a salad buffet, with other salads.

You can also eat it on a bed of rice or quinoa. It is quite filling too!


Cashew lime pesto with cauliflower salad by Trinity #dairyfree #vegan

Cauliflower Salad with a Vegan Cashew Lime Pesto Dressing - 2 ways

Yield: 4 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A super healthy vegan salad with cauliflower and a cashew, lime, basil pesto dressing. Filling and very nutritious.


Pesto ingredients

  • 100g cashews
  • 35g basil (one large handful)
  • Zest of one lime
  • 2 limes (or 4 tablespoons of lime juice)
  • 1 garlic clove (small)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown rice syrup (or maple syrup).

Salad ingredients

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 small apple


  1. Soak the cashews in water over night or for at least three hours.
  2. When ready drain the cashews and put in to a jug ready for blending.
  3. Finely grate the zest from one lime into the drained cashews.
  4. Juice the limes.
  5. Crush the garlic and remove the skin.
  6. Add the lime juice, garlic, basil, sea salt and rice syrup in to the blending jug.
  7. Blend until it turns as creamy as you can get it. I find this easiest with a high powered hand blender, to really 'get in there' and blend it up nicely.
  8. Chop the cauliflower into small florets (or alternatively chop into large chunks and toss in to the food processor to create a 'cauliflower rice'.)
  9. Chop the apple into very small cubes.
  10. Mix the pesto with the apple and cauliflower until everything is evenly coated.

Did you make this recipe?

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Cashew lime pesto with cauliflower salad by Trinity #dairyfree #vegan