This salad came to existence by a pure accident. But since it ended up being so damn satisfying I had to share the joy. It came out of this recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lentil & Dates I came across in the latest issue of Food & Wine magazine. I loved the idea of the original recipe but after reading the list of ingredients I knew, right off the bat, that I would have to make a few substitutions as we have a little person in the house allergic to bunch of stuff, as I do not even keep at home anything related to tree nuts and sesame. So almonds and tahini had to go right away.
I was about to start cooking lentils when I decided to replace it with red quinoa. And just like that, sunflower seeds went for almonds, honey mustard for tahini, and dried cranberries for dates. There you have it – a completely different salad. It’s healthy, it’s tasty and it’s filling enough to replace a meal.
Before we move on, I just want to share a couple of personal quinoa-related discoveries. First, red quinoa is a better choice for salads, as it hold its form better and separates easier. As oppose to white quinoa that is a bit mushier, but is perfect for side dishes. And second, I’ve been cooking quinoa according to the instructions of the packages for some time, but then I came across this post on TheKitchn and now toasting quinoa before cooking is my only method I use.
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- 1 cup uncooked red quinoa
- 1 head of cauliflower
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of cayenne
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons honey mustard
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup roasted sunflower seeds
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cups loosely packed arugula
Cook quinoa according to instructions on the package or using this method.
While quinoa is cooking, preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut cauliflower into 1- to 1½-inch florets, placing florets into a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne. Pour oil over cauliflower. Toss to coat. Transfer cauliflower to lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the baking sheet in the hot oven and roast the cauliflower, turning a couple of times, until it’s fork tender and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, honey mustard, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Add the quinoa and toss to coat. Now add the cauliflower, sunflower seeds, onion, cranberries and arugula. Toss everything together.
Transfer to a plate and serve.