We have started a Lunch Club at work. Once a month, everyone’s going to make a recipe to a theme, and we all bring half-serves of the dishes to share amongst the group.
This month started with a bang, and the theme was A Favourite Recipe. I made rice paper rolls (was thinking lunch food), but what I want to share with you today was my director’s quinoa salad. It was amazing! I’ve already recreated at home, and you must jump on his salad soon as pomegranates are only in season for a shortish time.
Quinoa and roasted cauliflower salad with almonds and pomegranate seeds
This is gluten free and vegetarian as well (if you don’t use chicken stock) but it’s a measure of how good it tastes that I only just worked that out now, long after consumption. I made up a Moroccan style chicken marinade and grilled some chicken for the top of our salad, though. The marinade just had a splash of olive oil, juice of one lemon, and a shake each of these spice jars: sumac, cumin, chilli powder. And a grind of black pepper. I think that’s all I used. It turned out damn tasty.
A cauliflower head, chopped into small florets
Cumin (for sprinkling on cauli)
Slivered almonds – about 50g (I used half a small packet from the supermarket)
3/4 cup quinoa (his recipe says 1 cup, but I’d already splashed my cash on the pomegranate and wanted to minimise cost a little. I reckon you could also use cous cous just fine, or any other smallish grain/pulse)
1.5 cups of chicken stock (I used powder, but that’s because I’m lame, I would highly recommend lashing out on better chicken stock, or better yet DIY)
Juice and seeds of one pomegranate
A bunch of chopped parsley
A bunch of chopped coriander
1 cup of chopped sultanas
Some chopped chives – optional
Dressing ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (this was my attempt at re-creating 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar, ha! use that if you’ve got it!), and 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (I had to get this from fancy-pants shops, but no doubt it’s well cheaper somewhere up Sydney Road!)
Chop (if you haven’t already) the cauliflower into small florets, then chuck in a roasting pan along with the slivered almonds and a lug of olive oil, Jamie Oliver style, to grease it all up. Sprinkle with cumin (Nigella likes doing this to cauliflower actually, to reference another British personality) and whack in the oven for 30 minutes. I did it on 190 degrees and it turned out cooked but maybe not roasted roasted. You could probably go higher.
While that’s happening, rinse the quinoa in water and then simmer it on the stove in the chicken stock for around 15 minutes. After that time, I just turned the heat off, clamped the lid on and let it sit for a bit longer until I was ready for it.
Ideally you’d cool the cauliflower and quinoa at this point, but I wasn’t organised to do that, so I bunged the whole roasting tray in the fridge while I got the rest of the ingredients ready. It didn’t do a lot.
While you’re waiting: get your serving bowl and chop the herbs, throw them in. I didn’t have enough herbs – I was using the parsley from my balcony and didn’t want to kill it by stripping it! I augmented with some baby spinach, it added nothing much to the flavour but heaps to the colour component.
Juice and seed the pomegranate – Nigella’s method of halving then whacking with a wooden spoon (detailed in my current favourite cookbook, “How to Eat”) soooooort of worked for me… but I did end up digging out the remaining seeds with a teaspoon, then my fingers! (If you go this route, your Lady Macbeth hands wash off, don’t worry).
Your salad is currently covered with rubies! Mix the quinoa and cauliflower mixtures in, and then mix in the dressing! Eat. It looks colourful and tastes amazing. The pomegranate seeds really make it (unfortunately, as they aren’t available all year round as far as I know). Little bursts of tangy juice pop in your mouth as you’re eating.