Despite the nearly-unbearable heat wave we're experiencing here in the Northeast, I woke up jonesing for some roasted cauliflower. (Go figure.) Historically, I'm not one who is able to resist cravings, so I decided to deal with the situation by roasting the veggies in the cooler, early morning hours and then assembling the salad later in the day. It's a cinch to make and packed full of delicious, healthy ingredients - the perfect lunch recipe!
Thyme roasted Cauliflower + Mushrooms over Red Quinoa + Kale Salad
3/4 lb. cauliflower, cut into florets or bite-sized pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Approx. 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from half of them
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for drizzling
1/2 cup red quinoa
3/4 cup water
3-4 kale leaves (I prefer Lacinato kale, both in general and for this recipe.)
1 tablespoon of your favorite salad dressing or vinaigrette
Salt + Pepper
Feta cheese, crumbles (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 400°.
Place cauliflower florets and mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves + sprigs and salt + pepper. Gently toss to combine the vegetables with the olive oil and spices.
Bake the vegetables for 30 minutes - stirring half-way through - until the mushrooms are nice and soft and the cauliflower begins to caramelize. Remove from oven and set aside.
Rinse and drain the quinoa. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the quinoa, and toast for a minute or two. Pour 3/4 cup of water in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature and let simmer until all the water has been absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle a pinch of salt over the quinoa, and fluff it with a fork. Set aside.
Rinse and dry the kale leaves. Place the leaves on top of one another and gently roll together, lengthwise. Slice the kale about 1/4 inch thick. Gently toss the kale "ribbons" with the salad dressing and let sit for about a five minutes. (This will help to soften the kale, as it can be a little stiff.)
After the kale has had a chance to soften up, divide among two bowls. Top with the quinoa and then the roasted vegetables. Add a final, light drizzle of olive oil and a bit of fresh cracked pepper. If you're feeling it, you can top it off with some crumbled feta cheese. (I'm lactose-intolerant, so I skip this part, but my husband loves the addition of a little cheese. Blue cheese would also work here.)
// A few notes... //
I made this for two, but the ingredients can easily be increased for more servings. Just double or triple as needed.