Roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad
Just to vary the theme a bit from pasta and potato salads I thought I’d pull out the quinoa from the pantry and see what I can do with it. I had the Bob’s red Mill tri-coloured quinoa variety, meaning red, white and black little grains (seeds, actually) and I thought they’d make a nice background for roasted cauliflower.
Since the weather improved here (not by much), lighter dishes are appropriate and this salad-like plate made a great lunch today that even my husband, who doesn’t “suffer” from an overly adventurous palate but likes good food, could appreciate (and he did).
Cauli is a wonderful vegetable that unfortunately many people do not like (Val? honestly). I think that roasting the cauli brings out its wild side because when roasted it’s almost unrecognizable as the white delicate vegetables that it is and its bold, golden, caramelized flavours and aromas come to life on the plate.
To make things interesting I added a couple of roasted carrots, a handful of chopped toasted almonds and the zest from a beautiful lemon, together with chopped chives, parsley and a bunch of salad greens and edible flowers from my garden. A tangy lemon dressing brought this all together.
For presentation you could mix it all together gently just before serving and pile the salad on the plate or, as I did here, make a bed of quinoa, layer the roasted cauli over and pile the salad greens on the side.
1 cup quinoa, one colour or tri-coloured
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 small cauliflower
A few small carrots, optional
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Optional: 2 tablespoon preserved lemon, chopped
1/2 cup almonds or another nut (hazelnuts, walnuts)
Mixed salad greens
Julienned zest from 1 lemon (thin strips)
Cook the quinoa according to your package directions or do this:
Rinse the quinoa under cold water and place in a pot with the olive oil. Set over medium heat and toss for 2-3 minutes until all quinoa is coated with oil. Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover the pot and cook until the water has been absorbed completely. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and drizzle with a little bit of the dressing, just to flavour it, not to drown with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste and half the almonds. Set aside until needed.
Cauliflower and carrots:
Slice the cauliflower into 1/2 ” slices. Don’t worry if some of it breaks into florets, you can still use it all. Clean the carrots and peel if needed. Place the cauli slices, florets and carrots on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the coriander seeds. Roast at 400°F until golden and cooked through. You may need to move them around once or twice with a wooden spoon, being careful not to burn yourself.
Place the olive oil in a small jar with the lemon juice, salt, pepper and preserved lemon if using. Secure the lid and shake to combine. Taste, adjust the flavour and set aside.
Place almonds in a skillet over medium heat and cook, shaking the skillet, until the almonds are toasted. Let them cool and then roughly chop with a knife, not too fin. this will give texture to the salad.
Spoon the quinoa in a pattern on salad plates. If you have too much quinoa only use what you need.
Arrange the roasted cauliflower and carrots over the quinoa and drizzle a little of the lemon dressing over.
Sprinkle with chives, parsley and remaining almonds.
Toss the salad greens with a little bit of dressing and arrange on the plate.
Scatter lemons zest and edible flowers over.