Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad

2 Jun

I’ve got another quinoa salad for you. This time I packed it with roasted cauliflower, spinach, garlic, lemon zest, dried apricots, golden raisins, and Marcona almonds. I also threw in some leftover chopped roasted chicken.

I roasted my cauliflower at a high heat (about 450-475 degrees F) and I lightly sprinkled on some Middle Eastern spices. Hawaji is a spice from Yemen, it is made of cumin, black pepper, turmeric, and cardamom. Sumac powder comes from the sumac fruit and is a red in color, and provides a tart element in cooking. Sumac is essential to making za’atar, a mix of ground sumac berries, sesame seeds, and crushed dried thyme. I also used a sprinkle of za’atar on my cauliflower. Typically za’atar is used on flatbreads and in yogurt or with kebabs or veggies.

(P.S. I researched my spices using Jill Norman’s herbs&spices)

In addition to a nice subtle flavor, I really loved the yellow-red color that the spices gave to the cauliflower. This went nicely with the green spinach and orange apricots. The whole theme of this quinoa dish is a play on the salty almonds with the sweet dried fruit, the savory roasted vegetable with the garlicky spinach and tangy lemon zest. I almost threw in some chopped mint, but in the end I decided to leave it out just for simplicity sake.

This dish would be smashing with a nice cinnamon roast chicken or a brisket or a fish or on its own with some flatbreads and yogurt dip. In other words, this dish goes with pretty much anything. Enjoy!

Sweet and Savory Quinoa


Quinoa with Middle-Eastern Spiced Cauliflower, Spinach, Marcona Almonds, Golden Raisins, Dried Apricots, and Lemon Zest

**After rinsing my quinoa I put in in a wide and relatively shallow pot to toast with some garlic (just as you would make rice). The quinoa was still a bit wet from the rinse, but as it kept toasting on the dry pan, eventually it dried and started to do its thing (I’m not positive about the need to rinse quinoa, I’ve definitely made it without rinsing and it turns out fine, too).

1 head cauliflower, chopped
olive oil
spice mixture (Hawaji, Sumac, Za'atar--or any spices you fancy...tumeric, cumin...) **you can also use harissa and spread it over the cauliflower before baking
1 cup dry quiona, rinsed
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in half
2 cups water (or broth)
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used golden raisins and chopped dried apricot)
1/2 cup marcona almonds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
optional: chopped chicken or garbanzo beans

1. Preheat oven to about 450 degrees F. Place your chopped cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle just a touch of olive oil. Add a small sprinkle of salt, and your spices. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.

2. Have your 1 cup of dry quinoa ready. Heat your pan and add the quinoa with the garlic and toast for about 5 minutes. Add your 2 cups of water (or broth) and bring the mix to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mix starts to boil, add the spinach and reduce the heat to low. Cover and let quinoa sit for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the roasted spiced cauliflower, dried fruit, almonds, lemon zest, and chicken or beans. Serve with cracked black pepper.

Want MORE QUINOA recipes?

Steph’s Granola

Pumpkin Chickpea Quinoa with Haricot Vert and Almonds

Roasted Beets, Sauteed Chard (and Yuba) Quinoa

Quinoa with Greens, Grapefruit, and a Runny Egg


One Response to “Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad”


  1. Summer Salad Round-Up! | Figsinmybelly - May 24, 2013

    […] Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad is an old-time favorite. If it’s too hot to roast cauliflower, feel free to use whatever […]

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