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Roasted Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls with Green Tahini

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!

ovehead shot of cauliflower quinoa bowl  with arugula

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
side view of ovehead shot of cauliflower quinoa bowl on a wooden table

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.

table and chair with ovehead shot of cauliflower quinoa bowl

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.

Other Simple Quinoa Recipes

Strawberry Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Beet Burgers

Quinoa Salad: 3 Ways

Print
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ovehead shot of cauliflower quinoa bowl with arugula

Roasted Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls


  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 bowls 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

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!


Ingredients

Scale

For the green tahini sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sesame tahini, as runny as possible
  • 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

For the bowl base:

  • 1 small to medium heat cauliflower, chopped into florets (56 cups)
  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (from one 15 oz can)
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS za’atar
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 1 cup dry quinoa 
  • 6 cups arugula

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all ingredients for the green sauce in a blender. Add more water as needed to yield a thick but pourable sauce. Set aside. 
  2. Add cauliflower and chickpeas to a lined baking sheet (feel free to spread this out over two sheets if your pan is very crowded). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and za’atar to season. Roast cauliflower and chickpeas in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring intermittently to prevent sticking or burning.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, prepare quinoa. Rinse in a fine mesh strainer and add to a small pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let cook for about 15 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Once this step is reached, remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. 
  4. Serve bowls with arugula, quinoa, and roasted vegetables. Drizzle with green sauce and enjoy.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Lunch

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: One fourth of recipe
  • Calories: 435 calories
  • Sugar: 7.5 grams
  • Sodium: 669 milligrams
  • Fat: 22.2 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 3.1 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 19.1 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 48.1 grams
  • Fiber: 12.1 grams
  • Protein: 15.7 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Keywords: quinoa, cauliflower, lunch

Portrait of Emily, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments! Meet me here.

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Comments

  1. Sue0523 says

    I LOVE THIS!! I used mostly basil in the tahini, as my garden is overflowing with it, and the sauce was delicious! Definite keeper.

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Garlic Head is a plant-based community founded by me, Emily. I focus on providing affordable, simple, & healthy recipes for entertaining.

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