Roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad with tahini dressing


How long do we get to say phrases like  "40 is the new 30" before the "new" expires? Personally, I hope never. Or that, in this particular case, we just keep pushing up the digits...50, 60, 90. It doesn't feel like that long ago I was staring at a "whole quarter of a century" as if it was so old, but it was. In any case, the real reason I'm even wondering is that in a brief moment of idle thought I was playing with a completely random analogy: 40 is to 30 as cauliflower is to kale. cauliflower quinoa3-1

Modest cauliflower has been established as trendy long enough that sharing a mini-obsession with it feels a little like jumping on the bandwagon after the band was gone. But that doesn't come close to even threatening to downgrade it's magical qualities. Quiet and mild as crucifers go, cauliflower  becomes "rice", mash, creamy puree, "steak", pizza crust, and more. And, belying its ghostly pallor, a serving packs a solid 80% of your daily value of vitamin C and a whole lot more.

cauliflower quinoa2-1

I love cauliflower in all kinds of forms, but I"m hooked on it roasted. Crisp and tender, flavorful, easy. What's not to love? Tossing it in with quinoa, greens and a few extra vegetables takes so little effort and makes a hearty, versatile meal and the kind of leftovers you can happily eat for days. A light tahini dressing really ties everything together, great with grains and salad. I used Keen One Garden Vegetable quinoa, but plain quinoa works great, too. (Or, to kick things up with some extra spice, try Keen One's Thai Curry blend...amazing!).

Sometimes salad seems to simple to be unique, but that's kind of the beauty of it and makes it all the more worth sharing. Little Monkey helped prepping and tossing the vegetables, and shook a jam jar of the dressing acting as my emulsifying agent. And then dinner was received well enough that quinoa could possibly even be the new breakfast. Sometimes, definitely.

cauliflower quinoa-1Roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad with tahini dressing

For the salad:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • cooking spray
  • 1 package Keen One garden vegetable quinoa or ⅔ cup dry quinoa (for 2 cups cooked quinoa)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups baby spinach, baby kale, or mixed greens
  • 1 15-ounce can cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Place cauliflower florets on a baking sheet or roasting pan; toss with oil to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, turning once.
  3. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and let cool.
  4. While cauliflower and quinoa are cooking prepare the dressing: combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk or fork to combine. Set aside.
  5. Combine cauliflower, quinoa, and remaining salad ingredients  in a large bowl. Toss with dressing before serving.