These Roasted Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls are customizable, full of plant protein, and very satisfying with a drizzle of bright green tahini sauce on top of peppery arugula. Pack them for lunch this week!
How to Build a Great Roasted Cauliflower Quinoa Bowl
The key to the most delicious quinoa bowl is a variety of ingredients and textures. To do this, there are three major components to keep in mind when deciding how to build your ideal bowl. Keep these in mind:
- Base: Use a ratio of 1/3 quinoa, 1/3 leafy greens, and 1/3 roasted vegetables. This will lay a solid foundation for other ingredients.
- Toppings: Consider ingredients that will provide more unique mouthfeel without distracting too heavily. Some workhorses include chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and small diced pieces of fresh fruit or crunchy vegetables.
- Sauce: The sauce will unify your bowl and bring everything together. It will also keep things (like the quinoa, mainly) from tasting too dry.
Ingredients Needed for This Cauliflower Quinoa Bowl
For the base of the bowl, you will need
- 1 small to medium heat cauliflower, chopped into florets (5-6 cups)
- 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (from one 15 oz can)
- 3 TBS olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 TBS za’atar
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 6 cups arugula
What is za’atar?
Za’atar is a culinary herb and is also the name of a blend that is made with ground thyme, marjoram, oregano, toasted sesame seeds, salt, and occasionally other spices. It has been used as a staple in Arab cuisine for many years and there has been evidence found of a za’atar plant in Ancient Egypt. Za’atar has historical significance for Palestinians, some of whom view the presence of za’atar as the signifier of a Palestinian household. It is also a common herb in Israeli cuisines.
In this recipe, we will be using the spice blend variation, which can be purchased at most grocery stores or online.
What is green tahini?
“Green tahini” is a pourable sauce primarily made with sesame seed paste (tahini), garlic, lemon, and fresh herbs. It is bright in color and full of fresh flavor. The specific herbs used in it are very flexible, so please feel free to customize to what you have on hand. My favorite additions are fresh basil and parsley.
How to Make Garlic Tahini Sauce
This sauce is very simple to prepare and comes together completely in a blender. To make it, combine:
- 1/2 cup sesame tahini
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1 TBS maple syrup
- 3/4 cup mixed tender herbs (such as mint, cilantro, basil, and parsley)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
That’s it! It is important to taste before serving to see if the flavorings are what you prefer. Depending on the consistency of the tahini used, you may need to add more or less water to achieve a pourable texture. It is important to note that this will firm up a bit in the fridge as well.
Ways to Customize this Dish:
- Swap out the quinoa for whatever grain you have on hand, including millet, brown rice, basmati rice, farro, or barley.
- Don’t care for arugula? Add in mixed greens, massaged kale, or even a fresh herb salad.
- If you have other vegetables going bad in your pantry or crisper, consider roasting them alongside the cauliflower. Some ideas include beets, potatoes, carrots, or broccoli. Just be sure to chop everything in evenly sized pieces, as some items can take longer to roast than others.