Roasted Cauliflower Steak with Quinoa

Vegetarians rejoice because you can have steak too — it’s just a different kind of steak. I’ve often read cauliflower steak recipes and thought It sounds so simple, yet the presentation is of restaurant caliber. This rendition uses all parts of the cauliflower to make a cauliflower puree that’s simple yet elegant.

Cauliflower Steak with Quinoa

Ingredients:

> 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch thick “steaks”
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> salt and pepper
> 1 cup quinoa
> 1 leek, rinsed and sliced
> 1 clove garlic, chopped

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups water over simmering water, until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan and roast the steaks on each side until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the cauliflower puree, cut the remaining cauliflower ends including the stalks into small florets and blanch until tender. Preheat oven to 350°F and spread florets on a baking sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes.

In a medium pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute the leek and garlic. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until cauliflower is tender. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth.

To assemble the dish, fold together quinoa and 1 cup cauliflower puree in a medium bowl. Place a bed of the quinoa mixture and top with a cauliflower steak on each plate. Garnish with roasted vegetables.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from The Wall Street Journal.

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Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Arugula

Chickpeas and quinoa are two of my favorite sources of vegetarian protein, in addition to seeds and nuts. That’s why this salad is the perfect combination of flavor and nutritional content for anyone. It’s light yet refreshing and the red pepper gives it a hint of heat.

Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Arugula

Ingredients:

> Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
> 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
> 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
> 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
> coarse salt
> 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
> 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
> 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
> 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
> 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
> 4 cups packed arugula

Instructions:

Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, oil and parsley in a medium bowl. Add chickpeas and season with salt and pepper flakes. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Combine almonds, quinoa, scallions, tomatoes and arugula in a large bowl. Add marinated chickpeas, and toss to combine. Season with salt.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Refreshing and Nutty Mixed Green Salad

Warmer weather calls for lighter meals, and often salads are my go-to meal. While it’s easy to stay in the routine of making the same salad (or one with minor variations), our tastebuds and bodies can get bored of the constant repetition. Deviate from your typical salad routine by buying just one new ingredient at the grocery store, and it may inspire new creativity in the kitchen. For me, that ingredient was jicama.

Refreshing and Nutty Mixed Green Salad
Ingredients:
> 4 cups mixed greens
> 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
> jicama, cut in small slivers
> 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
> 1 cup cooked quinoa
> 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice from oranges
> 1/4 cup orange muscat champagne vinegar
> 3/4 cup olive oil

Instructions:
Tear mixed greens into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, jicama, almonds and quinoa.

Make orange vinaigrette by whisking together orange juice, vinegar and olive oil. Drizzle lightly over salad and mix with hands to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 entree-sized servings.

Original recipe.

Spiced Chickpeas with Quinoa and Yogurt

Chickpeas are a staple in my kitchen. Just ask my roommate who found a drawer filled with nine cans of chickpeas after a Costco trip! Nonetheless, I’m always looking for new ways to cook with chickpeas. A classic go-to meal for me is roasted or steamed vegetables with chickpeas — simple yet flavorful and healthy. One night when I was in the mood for a dish with more texture and spice, I stumbled upon this recipe. This is a simple recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients. Plus it can be modified in many ways to satisfy your tastebuds.

Spiced Chickpeas

Ingredients: 

> 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
> 1 large onion, finely chopped
> 3 large garlic cloves, minced
> 1 teaspoon ground cumin
> one 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
> 3 handfuls fresh spinach
> 1 cup water
> 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
> salt and freshly ground pepper
> 1 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

Instructions:

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, spinach and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and boil, uncovered, until the liquid is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve alone or over a cooked grain (I chose quinoa) and top with yogurt.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Warm Quinoa Salad: A Spinach & Cranberry Twist

Quinoa is a grain that I’ve loved ever since trying it about a year ago. Now, the fluffy round grain has become a staple in my diet — I can’t seem to get enough of the high-protein, gluten-free food that is a great substitute for rice, pasta and bread. Plus it’s much healthier than all those white grains. But when first diving into quinoa land, why make it so daunting to figure out what to eat it with? Pair it with veggies, meat, sauces, practically anything and it’ll taste delicious.

Warm Quinoa Salad Spinach, Cranberry Twist 2

Here’s one rendition of a quinoa salad with a spinach and cranberry twist.

Ingredients:

> 2 cups cooked quinoa
> 3 generous handfuls of spinach
> 4 tablespoons dried cranberries
> extra virgin olive oil
> garlic salt
> ground pepper
> small lemon wedge

Instructions:

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet on low. Add the cooked quinoa and heat through. Add the spinach, and cook until begins to wilt. Season with garlic salt and ground pepper, and stir to mix. Just before serving, add dried cranberries, and squeeze lemon juice over dish.

Makes 2 servings.

Warm Quinoa Salad Spinach, Cranberry Twist