Summertime, when the eatin's easy. The produce is getting amazing, and the farmers' markets are bursting with incredible inspiration. This summertime salad features ingredients that you likely received in your CSA box or can easily procure at your local greenmarket. My mother-in-law made this salad at a recent family gathering. It immediately won me over due to its layer upon layer of crunchy goodness as well as its complexity of flavors. Pickled onions, roasted cauli and beets, zesty dressing, protein-filled quinoa, and the option of robust blue cheese make this summer salad a bonafide winner. This crunch fest can easily serve as a fully balanced meal or as a summery side. Since durable and hearty kale is the foundation, this salad is great to make ahead and enjoy for the next day or two.
Beets along with their greens are on repeat all summer long. I tend to get a little tired of them midway through summer, but before you do too, make this salad! Beets are very easy to prepare - simply boil them in water until you can easily pierce with a fork or roast them. Once cooled, peel and use as desired. Don't toss the greens! Beet greens are a good source of folic acid (great for all those pregnant ladies out there), Vitamin K, and Vitamin A.
Cauliflower Quinoa Kale Salad
- 1 bunch beets, leaves and stems removed for future use, beets washed
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
- 1/2 cup uncooked rainbow quinoa
- 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, leaves thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (optional)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or non-gmo canola oil
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
For the pickled onions
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings or half moons
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- To pickle the red onions, whisk together the hot water, maple syrup, salt, and vinegar in a large bowl. Place onions into a large mason jar or another large bowl and pour liquid over onions. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Extra onions can keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
- In a medium pot, cover beets with water, top with a lid. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer. Cook until beets are fork-tender about 30-40 minutes. If you have a pressure cooker, consider cooking beets in that to cut the cooking time in half. Remove beets from water, let cool, peel, and coarsely chop.
- While beets are cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a parchment paper-lined sheet tray, toss cauliflower with 1 tbsp coconut oil or canola oil and a 1/4 tsp sea salt. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until cauliflower is tender and lightly browned.
- For the quinoa, rinse under cold water and shake dry. In a pot over medium heat, sauté the quinoa for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant. Add 1 cup filtered water and a pinch of salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for 20 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the spiral in the grain is apparent. Avoid overchecking, poking, and prodding - it can lead to a sticky grain.
- Place the sliced kale into a large bowl. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and an 1/8 tsp salt over the greens. Using your clean hands, massage the greens until slightly broken down and soft.
- To make the dressing, place all of the ingredients into a jar and shake, or place all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk. Take a piece of kale and dip it into the dressing. Adjust the vinegar or oil, if needed.
- To serve, scatter chopped beats, cauliflower florets, cooked quinoa, pickled onions, scallions, and crumbled blue cheese over kale, drizzle with dressing, toss and serve.
- This salad is great as leftovers!