Nutty, quinoa grains mixed with oven roasted cauliflower, then tossed with fruit and nuts and finished with a lemon herb dressing. Roasted cauliflower is one of my most favourite healthy foods and it fits in so well here with the crunchy quinoa and zesty lemon dressing
How to make a salad
It seems like a simple thing, to make a salad, but I can't tell you how many time I've agonised over what to put in my salad. Especially if the salad is for work and I just know that when lunchtime rolls around I won't be in the mood for a limp bit of lettuce. More likely I'll be after a wild rice salad or chicken satay with quinoa salad!! 😛
Over the years I've learnt that less is more when it comes to salads. So instead of cramming in all the healthy foods I can find, I'll concentrate on making one or two star ingredients taste incredible. In this case the stars of the salad-show are roasted cauliflower and lemony quinoa.
Vegetarian salad recipes
Many of the salads I make do tend to be veggie and if I am going to add a meat it will usually be a chicken salad. But mostly I like to stick to grains, salads, fruits and nuts.
Fruit, nut and cheese salad is one of my other favourites! To make up for the lack of protein I'll usually try to add a legume of some kind. In the case of this roasted cauliflower salad its chickpeas, which can be roasted with the cauliflower until slightly crisp.
This recipe makes the most of the roasted flavour of cauliflower. Boiling cauliflower will cook it, but it won't have the same flavour as roasted cauliflower. Also, larger chunks are required for boiling rather than the smaller pieces that fit so nicely into a salad. Roasting also means that I can add in some extra flavours using seasoning and lemon juice.
Raw cauliflower salad
Can you eat raw cauliflower? Yes you can eat cauliflower raw if you prefer. However, its not always advised as our digestives systems aren't able to breakdown the sugars as well as when its cooked. - You can read more about eating raw vegetables here.
Lemon herb dressing
No salad is complete with out a good dressing and this roasted cauliflower salad is just crying out for a creamy, lemon herb dressing. The dressing for this recipe takes seconds to put together and really does transform the salad. The more you make - the better!! All that's needed is some oil, dijon mustard, creme fraiche, salt, fresh parsley and lemon juice. Pop it all into a small dish and mix together with a spoon - done - easy - and very tasty. I like to mix half directly into the salad and leave the other half to drizzle on top as I eat.
This salad is excellent for a bit of meal prep. Once made, divide up into sealable containers and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Great for making up on a Sunday and having as a working lunch on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 🙂
Roasted Cauliflower salad with lemon herb dressing
For the roasted Cauliflower:
- 1 large cauliflower (700g)
- Small 210g tin of chickpeas (130g drained)
- Half tbsp Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
For the Quinoa:
- 160 g dried Quinoa
- ¼ of a lemon
- Hot water
For the Dressing:
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Creme Fraiche
- 15 g Freshly chopped parsley
- Pinch of salt
- Juice of half a lemon
For the salad:
- 1 red apple chopped into cm cubes
- 50 g chopped hazelnuts
- 15 g freshly chopped parsley
Preparing the cauliflower
- Pre heat oven to 200 degrees C.
- Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower and use a large knife to chop the florets off the main stem and then chop into smaller bitesized pieces. Place chopped cauliflower florets in a bowl. Drain a small tin of chickpeas and add to the bowl. Add the oil, salt and pepper and lemon juice to the cauliflower and chickpeas and toss together well.
- Transfer the cauliflower mix to a large baking tray and spread evenly across the surface. Place the tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until slightly browned and crispy on the edges.
Preparing the Quinoa
- Whilst the cauliflower is cooking the quinoa can be placed in small saucepan with a wedge of lemon and covered with double the amount water. Place the pan on a medium heat and bring to the boil, then place on a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take off the heat but do not remove the lid. Set to one side and leave wth the lid on for 10 minutes.
Preparing the dressing
- In a small bowl or container mix together the oil, mustard, creme fraiche, parsley, salt and lemon juice. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Putting together the salad.
- When the cauliflower is cooked remove from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Once the quinoa has been sitting for 10 minutes, remove the lid and discard the wedge of lemon. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork and then add to the bowl alongside the cauliflower. Next add the chopped apple, hazelnuts, fresh parsley and half of the dressing. Mix together well then serve with extra parsley sprinkled on top and the other half of the dressing in a small dish.
- Salad can be stored in sealed containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.