With all the running we’ve been doing, me training for my first half marathon and my husband training for his first full, I’ve really been trying to up the vegetable intake in our diet. After reading 50/50 by Dean Karnazes (an incredibly inspiring and informative book even if you are not a runner, by the way) my husband’s request was an increase in dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.
It’s not that we don’t eat these foods, but with our travel the end of last year and our recent move I’ve had a hard time getting back into the groove with my cooking. Things are getting better though. I’ve been relying some on cauliflower for part of our cruciferous intake.
In the research world, cruciferous veggies get most of their attention for the potential to reduce cancer risk. Cauliflower, specifically, is also an excellent source of vitamins C, K and folate. Cauliflower also happens to be one of my favorite veggies. In addition to liking the flavor, I like that I can prepare it in a variety of ways. We eat it mashed, steamed, raw, and in a bit of a stir-fry or sauté which happens to be how I prepared it for my lunch yesterday.
I had some quinoa left over from a meal earlier this week and I decided to make the base of my lunch. I chopped the cauliflower in small florets, cooked it in a skillet, and then added some chopped walnuts and spices. To finish it off I combined it with the quinoa for a bowl of whole grain and veggie goodness. The nutty flavor of the walnuts and cauliflower and the seed-like crunch of quinoa paired well with the bold spices of the poultry seasoning I tossed in.
Nutty Cauliflower Quinoa
1 cup quinoa, soaked, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
¼ cup water
¾ cup walnuts, chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp poultry seasoning
Combine the water and quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a secure lid, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add water, reduce the heat just a bit, cover with a lid and allow to cook until the cauliflower is slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and ensure all the water has evaporated. Add the walnuts (you can also choose to toast them before adding), and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the seasonings and stir to coat the veggie and nuts.
In a large bowl toss together the quinoa and cauliflower mixture and serve. This recipe serves about 3 as a main course, or 6 as a side.
Although I ate this as a meal it would also make a great side dish so I’m submitting it to this month’s Side Dish Showdown at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice.
Health Nut also happens to be having a Cruciferous Veggie Challenge so I’m sharing it there as well.
More info on cauliflower and cruciferous veggies:
Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute: Cruciferous Vegetables