One of my favorite ways to roast vegetables is to toss them in some balsamic vinegar. The balsamic gives a kick of flavor and a subtle sweetness that I think really elevates the veggies. That’s what I did with the cauliflower quinoa salad. Cauliflower really lends itself to added flavors and roasting in a balsamic vinegar is an easy way to do it.
Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family which is notorious for its health benefits. In addition to being very high in vitamin C and K, cauliflower has a substance called glucosinolates, which may help prevent cancer protect cells from damage.
Pomegranates contain punicalagins, an extremely potent antioxidant with impressive anti-inflammatory effects. It also has punicic acid, a conjugated linoleic acid that helps prevent heart disease.
Pumpkin seeds, like all seeds, are a great source of healthy fats. They’re also considered excellent sourcesTrusted Source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Kale’s health benefits are practically old news by now. It contains nutrients that support healthy skin, can help balance blood sugar, lower cancer risk, enhance digestion, and support cardiovascular health.
Tahini is not only creamy and delicious, it has B vitamins to improve energy and brain function. Plus, vitamin E to protect against heart disease, and minerals such as magnesium, iron and calcium.
I often opt for vegetarian grain salads for my lunches during the week. When I do, I make sure to include plenty of plant protein sources. For this salad, we’ve got protein from the quinoa, pepitas, and tahini. The balsamic roasted cauliflower and pomegranate seeds add a ton of bright flavor. And the tahini dressing (which I adapted from Simply Quinoa) rounds it out with its creaminess. This cauliflower quinoa salad is nothing if not satisfying and filling without making you want to take a nap afterward.
Cauliflower Quinoa Salad
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1-2 tbs olive oil
- 1/8 – 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 bunch kale
- 1-2 handfuls parsley and/or cilantro
- Small handful mint
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp miso paste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup water (more, as needed)
- Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
- Break cauliflower into small florets. (I've found this is actually really easily done by hand.) Add florets to a medium bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once, until cauliflower is tender and beginning to brown.
- Remove kale leaves from stems. Rinse and then roughly chop or slice into ribbons (ribbons are awfully pretty). Add kale to a medium bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Massage kale for a few minutes until it turns dark green and reduces in volume by about half. Add cooked quinoa, pepitas, and pomegranate arils to the bowl and toss to combine.
- Roughly chop herbs and add to bowl with quinoa and kale. Toss to combine.
- In a small bowl or jar, combine all dressing ingredients and whisk or shake to combine.
- Once cauliflower is done cooking, divide quinoa salad among plates, top with cauliflower, and drizzle with dressing. Alternately, you can just add the cauliflower to the bowl with the quinoa and kale and toss with dressing, to taste.
- Any leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for about a week. It'll thicken up in the fridge so just add a bit more water to thin it out, as needed.