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.

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls

Happy New Year! My 31 Day Vegetarian Challenge officially starts today and I have to say, the first recipe I made for the challenge, Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls, is pretty killer. I chose a bowl meal for my first meal of the month because they’re just so easy and filling, they pack up great for leftovers, and they’re flexible enough to accommodate using leftover refrigerator ingredients. This particular bowl meal features my favorite sweet and spicy spice blend, creamy polenta, black beans, cheddar, avocado, green onion, and a tiny drizzle of tangy ranch dressing. The combo of sweet, spicy, and creamy in this bowl is absolutely to die for!

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls

A Sweet and Spicy Tempeh bowl with a ranch drizzle, about to be eaten.

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh is basically a block of fermented soy beans, but you can also find tempeh made with other beans and grains, which is great news for people with soy allergies. When it comes to vegetarian protein sources, tempeh is just as versatile as tofu, but has a much better texture (IMHO). Tempeh has a very slight nutty flavor and readily absorbs the flavors of any sauce or marinade it is cooked with, making it extremely versatile. The texture is similar to firm beans, but because they’re in block form you can slice and cut it into a variety of shapes. Want more info on Tempeh? Thekitchn.com has a great article about tempeh.

Is Tempeh Cost Effective?

At about $3 for this 8oz. block of organic tempeh, it’s about the same price as beef, so I do use it sparingly in my recipes. As with any other expensive ingredient, I’ve paired the tempeh with several other inexpensive and bulky ingredients, like polenta and black beans, to help balance the cost and keep the total price of the recipe down.

Doesn’t the Avocado Turn Black??

Haha, if I only had a dime for every time I get this question. 😂 I often add sliced avocado to my meal prep bowls and while they do turn slightly grey on the edges over the few days that they’re in the refrigerator, they don’t totally turn black. This color change is okay with me, since the avocado still tastes the same. If that does bother you, you can add the avocado fresh to the bowls each day (they hold their color best when not sliced and still attached to the skin and pit), or squeeze some lemon or lime juice over the slices.

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls are the perfect make-ahead vegetarian meal prep, with a medley of colors, textures, and bold flavors. 

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh

  • 8 oz. tempeh ($3.19)
  • 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.05)
  • 1/ tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)

Polenta

  • 1 cup cornmeal ($0.24)
  • 3 cups water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.12)

Bowl Toppings

  • 15 oz. black beans, rinsed ($0.49)
  • 2 oz. shredded cheddar ($0.44)
  • 1 avocado, sliced ($0.49)
  • 2 green onions, sliced ($0.20)
  • 4 Tbsp ranch dressing ($0.31)
  1. Cut the block of tempeh into 32 thin triangles. For the block I used, I first cut it into 8 equal-sized squares, then cut each square into two triangles, then cut the thickness of each triangle in half to make the pieces thinner. Add the tempeh triangles to a large non-stick skillet.

  2. Make the sweet and spicy marinade by combining the water, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, brown sugar, and olive oil. Pour this mixture over the tempeh in the skillet. Turn the skillet on to medium-high and simmer the tempeh, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the tempeh begins to brown just slightly (about 10 minutes). Remove the tempeh from the heat.

  3. To make the polenta, combine the cornmeal, salt, and water in a medium sauce pot. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring it up to a boil while whisking. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to simmer 2-3 minutes more, or until the polenta has thickened. Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the butter.

  4. To build the bowls, start with 1 cup of the polenta, add 1/4 of the sweet and spicy tempeh triangles, 1/4 of the rinsed black beans, a pinch or two of shredded cheddar (about 1/2 oz.), 1/4 of the avocado, a sprinkle of green onions, and a light drizzle of ranch. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat later.

Meal prepped Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls in round glass bowls

Step by Step Photos

Tempeh Package

If you’re unfamiliar with tempeh, this is what the brand I used looks like. This is the brand that I see most often in stores. It’s usually found in the refrigerated produce section, near tofu and other meat alternatives.

Cut Tempeh into Triangles

This photo shows the progression of how I cut the tempeh, from left to right. First cut the block in half, then in half again to make four rectangles. Cut the four rectangles in half horizontally to make eight squares, then cut each square diagonally to make two triangles. THEN, the most important part, turn each triangle on its side and slice it into two thinner triangles (that part isn’t shown in the photo above). You should have 32 triangles when finished.

Pour Sweet and Spicy Marinade over Tempeh

Place the tempeh in a large skillet (you probably want to use non-stick of some sort for this). Combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp olive oil, then pour that mixture over the tempeh.

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh finished

Place the skillet over medium-high heat and let the tempeh simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the tempeh just begins to brown slightly (about 10 minutes). Remove the tempeh from the heat.

Make Polenta

Next, make the polenta. Combine 1 cup cornmeal, 3 cups water, and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium sauce pot. Heat the mixture over medium-high while whisking until it begins to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook and whisk until it thickens (another 2-3 minutes). Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in 2 Tbsp butter.

A prepared Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowl with ranch drizzle.

And then it’s time to build the bowls! Start with 1 cup cooked polenta, then top with 1/4 of the sweet and spicy tempeh, 1/4 of a sliced avocado, 1/4 of a can of black beans (rinsed), a pinch or two of shredded cheddar (about 1/2 oz.), a few sliced green onions, and a light drizzle of ranch. 

A Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowl being eaten, front view.

Dig in! I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to eating these Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls all week (or at least for the next few days until they’re gone).

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