Nutty Cauliflower Quinoa

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I have a few races under my belt since first making this nutty cauliflower quinoa, but it still the type of meal I turn to when I  need to refuel for running!

Nutty Cauliflower Quinoa | Fake Food Free
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.
Nutty Cauliflower Quinoa | Fake Food Free
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 that 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 | Fake Food Free
Nutty Cauliflower Quinoa
Makes: 3 main course servings
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  1. 1 cup quinoa, soaked, rinsed and drained
  2. 1 ½ cups water
  3. 1/8 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
  4. 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  3. ¼ cup water
  4. ¾ cup raw walnuts, chopped
  5. ½ teaspoon fine ground salt
  6. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  7. ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  8. ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  1. Stir together the water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover with a secure lid, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in the 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper.
  2. 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 the water, reduce the heat just a bit, cover with a lid and allow to cook until the cauliflower is slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. 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 more minutes. Add the remaining salt, black pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning. Stir to coat the veggie and nuts.
  4. In a large bowl toss together the quinoa, cauliflower and nuts, and serve.
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More info on cauliflower and cruciferous veggies:
WHFoods: Cauliflower
Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute: Cruciferous Vegetables


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  1. says

    That looks so good! I’ve been trying to use more quinoa and cruciferous vegetables myself. Mashed cauliflower is the best. I tricked my boyfriend into believing it was potatoes. :) Shall be trying your dish soon!

  2. says

    What a great recipe! I love making a big batch of quinoa and using it for all different recipes during the week. I love that you added walnuts!

  3. says

    Looks yummy! But I’m not sure what poultry seasoning is. I could use a bowl of quinoa right now :)

    Have you tried quinoto? It is like risotto, but made with quinoa. I tried a really good version in Ecuador that’s made with hot pepper.

  4. says

    This looks great! I just tried quinoa for the first time the other day so i am looking for recipes. When is your half? So exciting!

  5. says

    Looks great and super delish. I love both quinoa and cauliflower. Cauliflower is one of the foods that is good for you despite the lack of color. Yum!

  6. says

    I really love cauliflower and this seems like a great idea for a salad! It’s got all of your food groups…veggies, whole grains, and fat…the perfect meal! Which half are you running? I ran my first marathon in October and was supposed to run Boston but got injured, so now I’m deferring it :( Right now I’m living vicariously through other runners 😛

  7. says

    I love love love cauliflower! So far roasted is my fave but it is such a great veggie that it can handle whatever you toss at it. Great idea adding the nuts! Clever! Provides crunch and extra protein. 😀

  8. says

    janet – I am loving it too. There is so much you can do with it.

    Daily Dose – So funny that he believed it! We love mashed cauliflower too.

    Ricki – Thanks! I’m always looking for new ways to use it.

    Nicole- Thanks! It is a great make-ahead grain.

    kumichan – I have not made quinoto, but it sounds awesome. I’ll have to look it up. Poultry seasoning is most often used around Thanksgiving for the turkey and in stuffing/dressing. It’s just a mix of spices most often thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg.

    lauren – It’s March 28, can’t believe it’s so soon!

    MR – Hope you like it!

    TasteHK – Thanks for the well wishes.

    MelindaRD – Yeah, I love it because it is a reminder that not everything has to be bright green or orange to be good for you. :)

    Joanne – Sorry to hear about your injury. I’m running the half in Lexington KY.

    Andrea – The nuts make the dish for me. I love the flavor they add.

    Sasha – It’s a fun event. Looking forward to seeing your dish in it!

    Marianne – That is exactly how I was feeling when I made it for lunch. I had no ideas and it just came together.

    Reeni, Daily Spud, 5 Star – It ended up being a really great combo. I’ll be throwing them together more often for sure.

  9. says

    I’m more of a broccoli fan but could warm up to cauliflower made like this! Have you tried Roman cauliflower (aka romanesco broccoli or fractal cauliflower)? It’s so delicious – a milder, almost sweeter flavor. Oh, now I’ve made myself impatient for the farmer’s market to open . . .

  10. says

    We love cauliflower so I can see that being a hit here, I bet it would be a great sidedish with a simple chicken breast