Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

For week 2 of my Vegetarian Challenge, I knew that I wanted a “refrigerator salad.” By that I mean a salad that I can prepare in the beginning of the week and will hold up well in the refrigerator for several days. Building the salad on a base of cooked grains, using sturdy vegetables, and roasting the vegetables to remove some of their moisture helps this Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad stay fresh like the day you made it, well into the week. While I haven’t tried freezing this salad yet, I’m going to test it today because this definitely made more than one person can probably eat within a week.

This recipe was inspired by two of my favorite recipes, Yellow Jasmine Rice and my classic Roasted Cauliflower Salad, so if you’re a fan of either of those, you’re going to love this one as well. I didn’t make a dressing for this salad, because there was already so much flavor going and it was moist enough for my liking, but if you want to try a dressing, I would suggest either the Lemon Turmeric Dressing from my Autumn Quinoa Salad, or the Lemon Tahini Dressing from my other Roasted Cauliflower Salad.

Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

A bowl full of Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad on a teal napkin.

Substitutions

You have several options with this salad. If you want to cut costs even more, you can substitute couscous for the quinoa. Just make sure to use proper amount of liquid, as suggested by the cooking instructions on the package of couscous. Raisins make a great substitution for the dried cranberries, and you can probably use a handful or two of kale, chopped very fine, in place of the parsley. I sometimes have success with spinach holding up in salads like this, so long as the other ingredients are significantly cooled before combining with the spinach.

Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

This Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad holds up well in the refrigerator for days, making it perfect for meal prep or brown bagging your lunch. 

  • 1 head cauliflower ($3.49)
  • 1 small red onion ($0.28)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.12)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • 1 tsp turmeric ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin ($0.05)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon ($0.02)
  • 2 cups quinoa ($2.39)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries ($0.29)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth* ($0.39)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds ($0.44)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley ($0.45)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Chop the cauliflower into florets and slice the red onion into 1/4-inch strips. Place the cauliflower florets and sliced red onion into a large bowl, along with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the cauliflower and onion until they are well coated in oil.

  2. Spread the cauliflower and onion out onto a large baking sheet, then transfer them to the oven. Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, give them a good stir, then roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized and the cauliflower is browned.

  3. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa well in a wire mesh sieve. Add the butter, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon, to a medium sauce pot. Place the pot over medium heat. Stir and cook the spices for one minute.

  4. Add the drained quinoa to the pot with the butter and spices. Also add the dried cranberries and vegetable broth. Stir to combine, then place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let the pot simmer for 20 minutes, with the lid in place.

  5. After simmering over low for 20 minutes, the quinoa should have absorbed all of the broth. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa. Add the sliced almonds and stir to combine. Allow the quinoa to cool slightly.

  6. Transfer the cooked quinoa and roasted cauliflower and red onion to a large bowl. Add the chopped parsley and stir until everything is combined. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat (can be eaten warm or cold). 

*I use Better Than Bouillon base to make my broth.

Front view of the bowl of Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

Step by Step Photos

Raw Cauliflower and Red Onion

Begin by preheating the oven to 400ºF. Chop one head of cauliflower into florets and slice one small onion into 1/4-inch strips. Place both of them in a bowl and add 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the cauliflower and onion until they are well coated in oil.

Cauliflower and Red Onion Ready to Roast

Spread the cauliflower and onion out onto a large baking sheet. Transfer them to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, then stir, and return them to the oven.

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Onion

Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized and the cauliflower florets are browned.

Butter and Spices in Pot

While the cauliflower is roasting, begin the quinoa. Rinse 2 cups of quinoa in a wire mesh sieve. Add 2 Tbsp butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 1/8 tsp cinnamon to a medium sauce pot. Stir and cook the spices in the butter over medium heat for about one minute.

Rinsed Quinoa and Dried Cranberries in Pot

Add the rinsed quinoa to the pot, along with 1/3 cup dried cranberries. We’ll cook the cranberries with the quinoa so they can plump up in the hot liquid.

Add Vegetable Broth to Quinoa

Finally, add 3 cups vegetable broth to the pot and give everything a brief stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes (with the lid on).

Cooked Quinoa and Cranberries Add Almonds

After 20 minutes, all of the broth should have been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa, add 1/4 cup sliced almonds, and stir to combine. Let the quinoa cool slightly.

Combine Quinoa Cauliflower and Parsley

Add the cooked quinoa to a large bowl along with the roasted cauliflower and red onion, and 1 cup chopped parsley.

Mixed Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

Stir everything to combine, then it’s ready to serve! You can serve this salad warm, or refrigerate it for later and serve cold.

A bowl of Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad on a teal napkin.

Crunchy, earthy, and a little sweet, this Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad will fill you up and keep you full!

The post Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Steak Fajita Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Steak Fajita Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice in a grey bowl on a white background, with toppings in individual bowls nearbySteak Fajita Bowls with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice in a grey bowl on a white background, with toppings in individual bowls nearby

There are few meals in life that I love more than a spicy, hearty, colorful fajita bowl. Bowls like this manage to walk the line between totally healthy (this is like 95% vegetables!) and still somehow totally stick-to-your-ribs satisfying. This is the meal I’d serve to someone who isn’t too sure about healthy eating—this meal can make even the most skeptical person change their tune.

A typical fajita or burrito bowl has a base of seasoned rice to act as a vehicle for all the glorious toppings. If you eat grains, rice (especially sprouted rice) would be a great option. But here, I use cauliflower rice, which has the fluffy, starchy texture of rice but with the added nutrition, fiber, and flavor of cauliflower. Cauliflower rice (or cauli-rice as some folks call it) is a great option for those of us who struggle to digest grains or otherwise choose not to eat grains.

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice in a white bowl

Cauliflower rice has been a thing now for quite some time, and when I first made it, I have to be honest, I thought it was so not appetizing. What crazy person said this was anything like rice? It was mushy and soggy and tasted like CAULLIFLOWERRRRRR! And I typically love the taste of cauliflower, but I don’t want my rice to taste like it!

I was determined to keep working at mastering cauliflower rice though, and I’m happy to say that I can now cook a pan of cauliflower rice like a boss!  Here are a few tips to making good cauliflower rice each time:

  • Use frozen riced cauliflower if you can. Most major supermarkets now carry frozen riced cauliflower in their frozen veggies section. Not only is it easier than chopping up a head of cauliflower in your food processor and more affordable than fresh, but I also find that it results in a much fluffier, rice-like end result. I’ve been able to make good cauliflower rice from fresh, but it takes a little more effort—from frozen, I get perfect results every time.
  • Steam, don’t boil or sauté. Whenever you go to cook your cauliflower rice, add just a touch (a couple of tablespoons per bag of frozen riced cauliflower) of water and steam your rice—don’t boil it (too mushy!) or sauté it (not fluffy!). By the time the cauliflower is cooked through, all the water should have evaporated and/or been absorbed. You want your end cauliflower to be tender, but not over-cooked.
  • Flavor your rice. Sulfur-heavy cauliflower can be a bit overpowering when left to its own devices, so make sure you season your cauliflower rice liberally. Strong flavors like garlic do a great job of helping to mask some of the cauliflower-iness.

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