Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad w/ Cauliflower

I was asked to try Near East's new Quinoa & Brown Rice Blends.
Why not?

I usually buy their brand of flavored couscous, but the combination of brown rice and quinoa was new to me.

I decided to make Ottolenghi's Middle Eastern style cauliflower recipe and add it to the quinoa to make a delicious, healthy, vegetarian main dish.

I find saffron to be an unusual spice, it's not my favorite, however, in this dish it works beautifully with the raisins and brown rice quinoa. I find it can be assertive, so make sure you use just a pinch, and buy the good stuff if you can.

Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad w/ Roasted Cauliflower: (serves 6)

1 box of Near East Quinoa & Brown Rice Blend
1 1/2 tsp saffron threads (you can use less if you think it's too much)
1/3 boiling water
1 red onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup of green olives, sliced in half (I used manzanilla olives from the jar)
2 bay leaves
kosher salt & pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
fresh parsley for garnish

Soak the saffron threads in the boiling water for a few minutes to infuse the liquid.

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower with the rest of the ingredients (except the parsley) and pour the saffron water over all. Season liberally w/ kosher salt & pepper.

Pour the contents of the bowl into a roasting pan and roast the vegetables uncovered for 30-35 minutes at 400F, turning them once during the roasting.

In the meantime, cook the quinoa rice blend as per package directions, it should take 14-17 minutes for the water to absorb. Once the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and place in a large bowl.

When the cauliflower is done, dump it on top of the quinoa rice and toss to combine.
Garnish with fresh parsley. Adjust seasonings and serve.

I liked this even better the next day cold for lunch!

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Anonymous said…
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SarahB said…
I love the combination of cauliflower with the nutty quinoa!
Anonymous said…
1 1/2 teaspoon? - that's a TON of saffron. Trader Joe's sells it in cute little cork stoppered glass jars at a good price. I use is all the time to make Spanish yellow rice. Tip - first toast it in a dry pan, careful not to burn, then pulverize it with the back of a spoon. You'll highten the flavor and distribute the saffron evenly through out the dish by doing so.
Stacey Snacks said…
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Stacey Snacks said…
What can I tell you?

Ottolenghi's recipe in PLENTY calls for 1.5 tsp of saffron diluted in the hot water.

If you think it's too much (and it is pricey), then reduce the amount.

I am not a big fan of saffron anyway.

Joanne said…
I need a big quinoa cauli bowl like this in my life! My mom used to buy the Near East pilafs when I was little..haven't had them in years but I'll have to try this new product!