Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad

Story by Natalie
Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with tahini dressing with cucumber and cabbage in a bowl with a fork
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This curried cauliflower quinoa salad with tahini dressing is so simple. It's the perfect vegetarian weeknight dinner! Hello meatless-Mondays.

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

When the sky is grey, I like to be sure there is plenty of color on my plate, and right now in the Pacific Northwest, there are a lot of grey skies. A few weeks ago, I fled our cold temps and headed down to soak up some LA sun. In search of a speedy, healthy lunch, I popped into a nearby Sweetgreen and stumbled across a quinoa salad SO good that I was actually a little heartbroken when I scraped the bowl for my very last bite. It was as bright and cheering as those LA skies, a tantalizing mix of:

  • Spicy arugula 
  • Warm quinoa 
  • Shredded, crunchy red cabbage
  • Roasted curried cauliflower
  • Golden raisins
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Creamy yogurt-tahini dressing 
  • Fresh cilantro 

People often ask where our recipe inspiration comes from. Often, the answer is from moments like these—tasting something delicious out in the world and coming home to recreate dishes we’ve loved. As soon as I was back home, I headed straight for the kitchen with visions of curried cauliflower and yogurt tahini dressing dancing in my head. The results were pure homemade quinoa salad heaven, and I hope you’ll agree.

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with tahini dressing with cucumber and cabbage in a bowl with a fork

Is Quinoa Salad Healthy?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is absolutely yes! Here’s why:

  1. Quinoa. This ancient grain is an incredible health-boosting superfood, with loads fiber, antioxidants and all nine essential amino acids quinoa wins the prize for being one of the healthiest foods on earth. And—bonus!—it’s delicious, too.  
  2. Vegetables! This quinoa salad relies heavily on the flavor-boosting, vitamin-packed support of savory curried cauliflower, crispy cucumbers and leafy greens.
  3. Homemade yogurt-tahini dressing! Salads like this are held together by killer dressing—the creamier, the better. Nutty, rich tahini is whipped up with tangy yogurt and lemon juice to make a dressing that even the pickiest eater will love. And—surprise, surprise—it’s healthy, too. Tahini is fiber and protein rich, yogurt is full of good bacteria (good bacteria=happy gut!), and soothing, refreshing cucumber and lemon balance it all out.
ingredients laid out raisins, cauliflower, cucumber, arugula, cabbage, cilantro, tahini

How to Cook Quinoa

First things first! Quinoa salads are a breeze to pull together, especially once you’ve mastered the art of cooking quinoa. Cook a big batch and keep it in the fridge, it’s a quick way to add fiber and protein to almost any meal—you can even toss it into a smoothie for a protein boost on the go. Here’s how to cook it:

  • Rinse. Place your quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it under cold water.
  • Measure. You’ll want a ratio of about 2:1 water: quinoa. So, for one cup of uncooked quinoa, you’ll need two cups of water.
  • Boil. Bring two cups of water to a boil, and add the uncooked, rinsed quinoa. Cover and simmer until all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

What Can I Put in a Quinoa Salad?

Because quinoa has such a mild flavor, it makes a great, filling addition to almost any of your favorite, go-to salads. Just toss a little cooked quinoa into a bowl with greens of your choice, add your favorite proteins and / or vegetables, and drizzle with a little olive oil, or whatever dressing you love.

Here are a few quinoa salad combinations we love, to get you started:

Mediterranean quinoa salad:

Kale Quinoa Salad:

  • Kale
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pickled onions
  • Soft-boiled egg
  • And our favorite Caesar Dressing

Southwest Quinoa Black Bean Salad:

  • Romaine
  • Cilantro
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Grilled chicken
  • Black beans
  • This tangy Southwest Dressing
Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with tahini dressing with cucumber and cabbage in a bowl
Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with tahini dressing with cucumber and cabbage in a bowl

More of Our Favorite Single Bowl Meals

We’re all about bowls around here. Fast, forgiving, adaptable and generally pretty healthy, they cover all the bases—proteins, grains, veggies. Plus, they’re ideal for making ahead! Just assemble your bowl(s) ahead of time, and dress them when you’re ready to eat them. Here are few bowls that we’re crushing on right now:

Teriyaki chicken sushi bowl—an umami explosion with homemade teriyaki chicken, seasoned rice, and flaked nori.

Coconut rice salmon bowl—I just can’t think of a prettier food. It will take your tastebuds far away to a warmer place.

Italian chopped salad—with all the cheese and salami, you’ll hardly remember you’re eating a salad.

Tools You'll Need:

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with tahini dressing with cucumber and cabbage in a bowl with a fork

Is This The Perfect Vegetarian Bowl?

We think so too! Snap a photo of your Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad

Serves 4

Yogurt Tahini Salad Dressing

1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup English or Persian Cucumber
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients

1 small head cauliflower
2 tbsp curry powder
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 cup cooked quinoa
2 cup red cabbage, shredded
4 cup loosely packed arugula
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 cup golden raisins

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl toss cauliflower with olive oil, curry powder and salt. Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer and bake on center rack for 40 minutes.
  3. While cauliflower is cooking prepare the salad dressing by combining all ingredients in a blender and blending until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl toss together cooked quinoa, red cabbage and arugula and divide between 4 bowls. Top each bowl with fresh cilantro, cucumbers, golden raisins and roasted cauliflower. Drizzle with yogurt tahini dressing and enjoy!