roasted cauliflower, chickpea + quinoa salad with jalapeno lime dressing

roasted cauliflower, chickpea + quinoa salad with jalapeno lime dressing

I come from the school of thought that says the odd little homemade treat is totally acceptable in a healthy diet (it kinda makes me sad to see so many people completely depriving themselves of anything sweet if I’m being completely honest here), but at the same time I do tend to eat my weight in salad too. Most lunch times I fix myself a salad of some sort and we always have a salad with our dinner. 
We are lucky here in Perth that we can still grow tomatoes and lettuce all year round and this is what usually forms the basis of our night time salad. But for lunch when the kids are at school and I only have myself to think about, I make whatever my little heart desires. There’s nearly always chilli involved and if I have leftover cooked grains from the night before, they go in too.

roasted chickpeas
roasted cauliflower, chickpea + quinoa salad with jalapeno lime dressing

In our kitchen we have a large pantry with two cupboards right next to it, which is where I store all my unopened supplies, you know… sacks of rice, bags of dried beans and my preserves from last summer. That kind of thing.
It was while sifting through this overflowing cupboard that I came across my last jar of homegrown pickled jalapenos. I thought I’d already used the last of them, so you can imagine my surprise when I move the tub of rice to reveal one of my all-time favourite things. Naturally, they had to star in my lunch. With some leftover quinoa and chickpeas from the fridge, a little bit of golden-roasted cauliflower, loads of herbs from the garden and limes from the markets, this salad was born. 
roasted cauliflower, chickpea + quinoa salad with jalapeno lime dressing

roasted cauliflower, chickpea + quinoa salad with jalapeno lime dressing
I had some leftover cooked quinoa and chickpeas at hand, but of course, if the difference between you making this salad or not is the chickpeas, by all means use tinned ones. Just rinse them well first.
Serves 2-3 or more as a side

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or use 1x400g tin chickpeas, rinsed well), patted dry on a clean tea towel
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (cumin seeds would also work here if that’s what you have)

1 cup cooked quinoa*, any colour
1/4 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
a handful each of fresh mint leaves, flat leaf parsley, coriander (cilantro), roughly torn

jalapeno lime dressing
1-2 pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
the juice of 2 medium limes
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 220C/428F. Lay cauliflower florets out in a single layer on an oven tray, scatter over half of the lemon zest, season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Give it all a good toss and roast for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so, or until cauliflower is golden and tender.

On another tray lay out the chickpeas, scatter over remaining zest, fennel seeds, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toss well to combine and then roast for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so, or until lovely and crispy golden brown.

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing, season well with salt and pepper and mix well.
In a large bowl combine, cooked cauliflower, chickpeas, cooked quinoa, herbs and almonds, drizzle over dressing mix well and serve.

*If you don’t already have cooked quinoa at hand you will need approx 1/2 cup (90g) of raw quinoa grains. Bring 3/4 cup (185ml) water to the boil in a medium saucepan. Rinse quinoa well to remove the saponin, a bitter protective coating, then drain. The easiest way to do this is to put the raw grain into a fine mesh sieve and rinse under running water, then set aside to drain while the waters coming up to the boil. When your waters boiling, add the rinsed quinoa, cover and turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for 12 mins or until the grains become translucent, the water is absorbed and an unusual outer white ring shows. Remove from the heat and fluff up with a fork. You may have a little more than is needed for this recipe, store any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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  • Andrea Cody
    August 8, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Such beautiful photos! Can't wait to make x

    • emma
      August 8, 2013 at 8:04 am

      Thanks Andrea, that means a lot xx

  • Christine
    August 8, 2013 at 6:47 am

    I'm so drooling over this… and the photos are gorgeous!
    Thank you so much for your beautiful blog! I've tried a bunch of your recipes and have several stacked up in my "to cook"-pile πŸ™‚

    • emma
      August 8, 2013 at 8:04 am

      Thanks so much Christine! xx

  • Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie
    August 8, 2013 at 8:32 am

    That combines two of my favourite ingredients – chickpeas and cauliflower! The dressing sounds delicious so I think I will have to give this a try. Gorgeous photos as well!

    • emma
      August 8, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Thanks Liz, you'll love this salad if you love chickpeas and cauliflower! Enjoy πŸ™‚

  • Zo @ Two Spoons
    August 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Yuuum these flavours sound simply perfect together! Am so loving the affordability of limes in Australia too that makes salads like this possible hehe.

    • emma
      August 8, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Yep me too! Of course for NZ readers lemon juice can be used in place of limes to though, might add that up top πŸ™‚

  • The InTolerant Chef β„’
    August 8, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I love chilli too and these sound awesome indeed! Quinoa makes a great salad base doesn't it? Delicious!

    • emma
      August 8, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Sure does, I always cook way more than needed so I can have leftovers πŸ™‚

  • Colette Joseph
    August 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    That looks really good, Emma!

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:23 am

      Thanks Colette! xx

  • Sarah Crowder (punctuated. with food)
    August 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Oh wow, so many wonderful flavors in this salad. That chickpea photo is so tantalizing – I just want to grab a handful!

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:23 am

      πŸ™‚ Thanks love xx

  • Eileen
    August 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Well, now I have some idea what I might actually do with a jar of pickled jalapenos besides eating them two or three slices at a time on tacos! YAY. This salad sounds great & hearty & easy, and the dressing obviously sounds amazing!

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:22 am

      I chop them up finely and add to all sorts of things πŸ™‚ Nice with eggs too xx

  • Shelly
    August 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    This is such a gorgeous salad! I am SO jealous that you are able to grow lettuce and tomatoes all year around…I can only get about one good months of harvest out of my garden (UGH).

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:21 am

      I'm still amazed (even after 2 years living in Australia) to see tomatoes growing in the middle of summer! They lack the intense flavour of their summer friends, but still such a treat πŸ™‚

  • carey
    August 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Yes! This is so what I want to eat right now and always. I love making large-ish batches of quinoa and roasted chickpeas so I can spend the next couple days throwing the leftovers into various dishes. (I can't wait to try roasted chickpeas with fennel seeds the next time around.) And the dressing sounds divine! Pickled jalapenos β€” yum! (:

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:20 am

      I try to sneak chillies into everything I eat πŸ™‚

  • Hannah Cordes
    August 9, 2013 at 4:19 am

    Emma, this is a gorgeous salad and exactly the type of lunch I enjoy! And finding a jar of pickled jalapenos is indeed a treat. As always, I just love all you post! xx

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:19 am

      Thanks Hannah! xx

  • Lan | MoreStomach
    August 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    this kind of salad is what we lovingly call the Pile at home. it's piled with the best kind of ingredients, fresh and leftover.

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:19 am

      The pile. Love that πŸ™‚

  • Molly (Sprue Story)
    August 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I'm not sure how I've managed to not have your blog on my radar already, but I'm so glad I just stumbled across it. This recipe looks fantastic, and browsing through your index is definitely getting me hungry. I'm gluten-free and really appreciate the wide range here. πŸ™‚

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:18 am

      Hey Molly! Welcome xx

  • Lara
    August 10, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Jalapeno lime dressing. That sounds awesome and going to start use this. Will try pickling my own. Thanks for a great idea. Love this salad.

    • emma
      August 10, 2013 at 6:18 am

      They really are so easy to pickle, and a really great way to preserve them if you grow your own πŸ™‚

  • Mairi @ Toast
    August 10, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Love! This makes even me a self confessed non lover of cauliflower want to dive right in & scoff the lot! I am with you chilli with everything!

  • shazevans
    August 11, 2013 at 6:37 am

    This looks so yummy, I have just discovered you and you have some amazing recipes.

  • london bakes
    August 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    This salad looks so delicious especially with the jalapeno in the dressing. Such a great combination of flavours.

  • Alisa
    August 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I love the jalapeno lime dressing. It's the perfect combination of flavors.

  • Ice Cream Magic
    August 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    This roasted cauliflower, chickpea and quinoa salad with jalapeno lime dressing sounds quite tasty. I think it could be a nice treat during these summer months. Great post.

  • dalina
    August 13, 2013 at 5:48 am

    I wanted to do something with chickpeas today, so I guess I will go for this recipe.
    Love your whole blog, honest writing, great recipes…

  • savourme
    August 13, 2013 at 8:36 am

    This is so beautifully stunning! My mouth is actually drooling all over your pictures! Roasted cauliflower is truly delicious and cannot wait to try out the combo of chickpeas and quinoa with it! YUM!!!

  • Blair's Foster Socks
    August 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    You had me at the jalapeno lime dressing! Looks delicious and like the next item on my dinner list. Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura
    August 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    This looks like a great healthy filling salad

  • seika
    August 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Emma,

    I wanted to serve this at a bridal shower and wanted to know how long in advance you think I could make this before serving?

    Thank you!

  • Angie
    September 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Just tried it and it is amazing! Love the dressing!

  • Katinka
    October 9, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Hello, i just stumbled upon your blog via this recipe and just want to say your blog is amazing! the food looks so beautiful and delicious and i love that you have vegan options. Keep up the great work! πŸ™‚

  • HelloMonkee
    October 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Hello Emma:

    I'm an amateur 'foodie' always on the lookout for recipes to make with fresh farm produce.

    In the Autumn I like to make food in batches, so last night I made a carrot and turnip bisque, beef stew, and a marinara sauce. I always keep a serving of each of things I make for dinners for the week, then freeze the rest.

    Tonight I'll probably make Borscht and maybe a veggie lasagna.

    I just discovered your food blog today after I had roasted some cauliflower and Brussel sprouts and went searching for a recipe. Initially I thought I was going to make a 'roasted soup' but I really like your salad.

    I'm going to make it with my roasted sprouts as well and hopefully will post a picture.

  • Jo Frost
    November 29, 2013 at 12:46 am

    I made this last night, I substituted israeli cous cous for the quinoa because its what i had at home. absolutely delicious recipe thank you.

  • GA Hockey Mom
    April 1, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I really wanted to PIN this, but couldn't find a way to just pin the recipe (versus your entire blog series).

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2014 at 3:12 am

    Thank you so much for this wonderful dish. Im a vegetarian and always on the look out for new recipes. My 'carnivore' husband loved it too, and asked for it again! πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous
    May 11, 2014 at 12:55 am

    I soaked way too many chickpeas last night for hummus. I looked for recipes to use them up and found this one. DELICIOUS!!! I used fresh jalapeno instead of pickled, 7 grain blend grains instead of quinoa, mint cilantro and arugula. It was so tasty. Barely any remains and I was the only one eating it!. THANK YOU for a recipe I will surely make again!

  • Tammy Trezona
    June 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Can this be served cold or hot??

    • emma
      June 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Either way, up to you xx

    • Tammy Trezona
      June 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you!!! I can not wait to try it!!! Looks Delish! πŸ™‚

  • Deryn from Running on Real Food
    September 19, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    This looks lovely! I love the flavour sin there..glad I found your site today!

  • Bellaisa
    December 10, 2014 at 1:16 am

    I was going to make roasted cauliflower and some sort of chickpea dish, but then I found this and since I had quinoa in the fridge, it felt like it was meant to be!

    My end result didn't look like your picture because I used ALOT of quinoa, but it still tasted good. I only used cilantro for the herbs (all I had) and no lemon zest or almonds. Still, we liked it. Will definitely have again.

  • Anonymous
    January 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Fantastic recipe! Was thinking to try it out today as boyfriend is returning home from abroad, but realised I only have whole jalapenos, no pickled ones.. Will this work? :S
    Sorry, complete noob in the kitchen…

    • emma
      January 10, 2015 at 2:32 am

      Fresh jalapenos will be fine, different.. but fine xx

  • MarianHJones
    July 1, 2015 at 4:25 am

    I found another recipe to be cooked on weekends. I'm just hoping to make it beyond perfection just like yours. Thank you for the recipe, hope to read more of you, Have a great day!

  • Heidi
    September 2, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Double YUM! Thanks for the recipe. My entire family loves it.

  • Tracey Paterson
    June 17, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Have just discovered this recipe, and it has quickly become my favourite! Thank you Emma, a delicious combination of tastes.