With the weather finally cooling down, more warming meals are in need. I am a long time lover of salads but I just can't deal with cold foods on cold days. So this warm salad was born. This salad makes a great side or a main event. If you're making this as a main meal though, I would suggest adding some extra protein. Grilled chicken or salmon, a fried egg or some chickpeas would fit the bill nicely.
The tahini dressing in this warm salad is one that I use a lot. It is really versatile and even makes for a vegan alternative to mayonnaise (I mean, it's not quite the same but you get the creamy texture soooo). Dressings aren't just a delicious addition to a salad, they can improve the nutritional value of a dish as well. I recommend strongly to make your own dressings and steer clear of store bought dressings. Store bought dressings are usually full of sugar.
A dressing is usually made up of an oil and an acid, so in this case it is extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Adding fat in the form of a good quality oil to a salad helps to boost the nutritional content of the food as well as promoting the absorption of any fat soluble vitamins in the meal (ie. Vitamin A, E, D and K). Adding an acid to a meal (in this case, lemon juice), helps your body to break the food down, therefore assimilating more nutrients from the meal. Apple Cider Vinegar is great for this as well. FYI - when it comes to choosing an oil I would recommend extra virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil or flaxseed oil. I advise to stay away from canola oil as most are genetically modified.
This warm salad is not only delicious but nourishing as well. Broccoli is a superfood in itself, containing nutrients like magnesium, calcium and vitamin c in abundance. This cruciferous vegetable also contains anti-oxidants, which help to reduce cellular damage through oxidation. Pumpkin is full of beta-carotene and Vitamin A, which help to promote a healthy immune system, skin health and mucous membrane health. Quinoa has a complete protein profile while also being packed full of vitamins and minerals (mainly B vitamins, magnesium and manganese). Parsley is high in vitamin c - perfect for the cooler months when colds and flu's are rife. Finally, in the dressing we have healthy fats, magnesium, calcium and beneficial amino acids.
- 1 head broccoli cut into florets
- 250 grams japanese pumpkin cut into pieces
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cup quinoa
- ½ cup parsley roughly chopped
- sea salt and pepper to season
- 50 ml lemon juice
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp hulled tahini
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Place the broccoli and pumpkin into a baking dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss until evenly coated. Spread the broccoli and pumpkin evenly across base of dish and set aside.
- Place the cauliflower into a seperate baking dish. Sprinkle ground cumin over the top and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as desired and then toss cauliflower until evenly coated in spices and olive oil.
- Place cauliflower, broccoli and pumpkin into the oven and allow to roast for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse quinoa in a strainer under cold water before tipping into a small saucepan. Cover quinoa with enough water so that it is about 1cm above the level of quinoa.
- Bring quinoa to a bowl and then reduce to simmer until small white “tails” begin to seperate from quinoa. Turn heat off and place lid on saucepan so that the quinoa is left to steam.
- To make the dressing, place all ingredients into a jar or dressing shaker and shake well to combine.
- To assemble salad, place desired amount of quinoa, roast vegetables and parsley into each bowl. Toss to combine and then drizzle with tahini dressing.
- Serve warm.