Cauliflower Quinoa Salad

I caught up with a friend after work on Friday; the last time we had seen each other was early December before she went on holidays and then both of us had the end of year rush. We got up to speed with most of what’s been happening, and asked one another if we had any goals or resolutions for the New Year. Mine was to take more opportunities and risks, and her goal was to never have a time where she would say to herself “I am bored”.

And how good is that goal of hers? I admit that when starting to work full-time from mid-last year, there was the early weekday evenings to prepare for another full day of work – turning down maybe a night of soothing live music in a dimly-lit underground bar with good company or an evening at the movies. Then I would spend my Saturday over-sleeping to catch up on lost sleep throughout the week, and then spend Sunday preparing food for the work week ahead before starting it all over again. It became a repetitive, monotone routine centered around the work week. And while I was constantly busy, I was – to put it frankly- bored.

I was talking to my brother-in-law this weekend and he was saying how he and my sister couldn’t decide whether or not to go to Symphony in the Domain on Sunday night because it started at 8pm; obviously they were concerned about the time that they would get home and how it would impact on them at work the next morning. I strongly encouraged them to go – sure, you may feel a little more refreshed by having a quiet night in, but ultimately you’re missing out on an experience.

I am probably going through what is joked as the “quarter life crisis”, and I’ve discussed this in great detail with a few friends. After coming out of full-time studies, you settle into the routine of full-time work and then after a little while – wonder what it’s all about. I read an article somewhere last week that this is probably one of the hardest eras to be in your 20s – there are so many standards going around in regards to health and career, with a great surge in entrepreneurs, health fads and diets. Your paleo to kale to raw to – what is apparently the new 2015 trend – cauliflower.

I haven’t actually eaten a lot of cauliflower in my life. Back when cauliflower was a little cheaper and I was living at home, mum used to add it to broths and soups, with the soft cauliflower absorbing the meaty flavours. That was before cauliflower went up to $6 a head! But it’s a little more reasonable at $4.50 a head now. I’ve had deliciously sinful cauliflower cheese and went through a couple of weeks of eating Caulislaw, but when I saw this salad pop up on my Instagram feed by a fellow blogger, I was intrigued as it looked like a salad with punchy flavours and substantial enough to satisfy even me 😉

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This is one of the most delicious salads I’ve had the pleasure of not using a recipe to toss it together. So unfortunately there a few less photos as it was fairly ramshackle, but it’s fairly simple to put together. This makes about five servings.

You will need:

  • One head white cauliflower, leaves removed, chopped into florets. You can chop up the stem as well;
  • Moroccan seasoning, or any seasoning that you prefer;
  • 1 cup quinoa;
  • 4 teaspoons  olive oil;
  • 100g walnuts, toasted;
  • 1 pomegranate, de-seeded;
  • Handful mint leaves, chopped roughly;
  • Salt and pepper to taste;
  • Lemon slices, to serve.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celcius. Line a baking tray with foil and spread out the cauliflower florets and stem pieces, before drizzling with two teaspoons of the olive oil and dust with your seasoning of choice. Just salt and pepper will also do. Roast for about 15-20 minutes in the oven until the edges of the florets are just that little bit deliciously charred.

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While it’s roasting, you can make your quinoa. Give the quinoa two rinses before placing it in a medium saucepan with two cups of cold water. Place on the stovetop over a medium heat until it comes to the boil, put on the lid and turn the temperature down to low. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes or until the white “rings” around the quinoa grains have come off and tunnels have formed in the quinoa. Remove from heat, take off the lid and stir. Allow it to cool. Don’t be too concerned about there still being water; the quinoa will absorb most of it as it cools, and the rest usually evaporates.

In a large bowl, mix together the roasted cauliflower florets, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, cooked quinoa, and mint. Drizzle over the last two teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to your own liking.

You can use a balsamic dressing over this salad if you like, but for me a squeeze of lemon was enough as I had already seasoned the cauliflower. I also wanted just a little more “omph” for my salad, so grilled a pack of halloumi cheese before tearing it into gorgeous pieces over the salad. I may try it with some tuna or salmon next time.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Feast Wisely says:

    Great salad – quinoa is such a good ingredient as well being gluten free

  2. Hehe good to see that you’re still enjoying caulislaw Cath! And this salad looks like a total winner too 😀 I’m all about salad these days!

  3. grabyourfork says:

    Roasted cauliflower would have to be one of my favourite additions to a salad! Love its supreme nutty flavour.

  4. It is a difficult time of life – bridging the gap between responsibility-free younger years, and the obligations and responsibilities of adult life. Break the routine while you still can!

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