On Sunday night, I went out for dinner with 2 of my closest friends. We went to a place in East Melbourne called The Tippler and Co, right near the MCG, it is a place which if not for its sign would be very easy to miss, as it is just a door. They have a great menu of share plates and we had a lovely Cauliflower Grain Salad, which has inspired me to create this dish.
Quinoa is a great addition to a salad as it adds some protein and bulks out the salad, making it suitable as a meal on its own, if desired. It also adds some warmth to a salad, making it suitable to all seasons of the year, especially Autumn. By adding the small amount of cumin to the veggies, it really lifts the flavour and adds a hint of Middle Eastern flavour, which pairs really well with the tahini dressing.
The night that we had this salad, I didn’t even attempt to offer it to the kids as I was having one of those days where I wasn’t feeling like another battle, so I asked them what they wanted with their fish and they asked for a normal salad, so thats what they got. Not surprisingly, they both wanted to try some of this salad off my plate, especially the feta. I think if I served it up to them, it would have been one of the dishes that they say they don’t like, but go ahead to eat it and enjoy it.
This salad is quite simple to make and it can be made ahead of time, just leave the dressing and the nuts until just before serving. It is great by itself, or with some form of meat, chicken or fish.
- 300g pumpkin, cut into 1-2cm cubes
- 300g cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 3/4 cup tricolour quinoa
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1 tbs coriander, chopped
- 1 tbs dill, chopped
- 1 tbs parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup currants
- 50g feta
- 1 tbs pinenuts, toasted
- 1 tbs flaked or slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 tbs pepitas, toasted
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Juice of 1/2 an orange
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbs orange juice
- 1 tbs tahini
- 1 tbs natural yoghurt
- 1/2 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the cut pumpkin and cauliflower into a bowl and add 1 tbs olive oil and ground cumin and mix to coat. Place onto baking paper and cook for ~35 minutes or until starting to turn golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa, by placing rinsed quinoa into a small saucepan along with 1.5 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat once boiling. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa starts to fluff (see picture above of fluffed quinoa). Place into a large bowl and set aside.
- Place the currants into a small bowl and cover with boiling water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add to quinoa.
- Chop the onion and herbs and add to the quinoa, along with the currants. Add lemon and orange juice and olive oil and stir to combine. Add the pumpkin and cauliflower, gently toss to combine and place into serving dish.
- Toast the nuts and seeds in a small frypan over medium heat until they just start to colour. Sprinkle over the salad.
- Crumble the feta and sprinkle over the salad.
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients into a small bowl and stir to combine. Drizzle over salad and serve.