Saturday, June 21, 2014

Rescue Salad

It's been a long week... a long, challenging, tiring week. I've been working a lot of hours, which is no huge change, but I've also had a week of poor sleep. That means that by the time I reached Friday night, I had to keep looking over my shoulder to make sure nobody was pursuing me thinking that I had started the zombie apocalypse. In short: I was tired.

On the plus side, I've been trying to keep myself fueled with good food to make sure I wasn't crashing too hard at the end of each day. I've learned from several people that you have to keep yourself fueled on good food, ESPECIALLY when you're having a hard week.

Enter the Rescue Salad.

I adapted this salad from Bakers Royale's Power Salad recipe. I needed this stuff to be easily transportable and to last me the week. I also needed to make sure it gave me enough fuel to keep me going throughout the day, so I changed up some of the quantities of the ingredients. 

Firstly, I feel the need to make it known there is cauliflower in the recipe. I have been known to utter the sentence: "Cauliflower should be cancelled." And well, you can't really blame me for that. It is the least popular of the brassicas, the relative that broccoli and cabbage kinda smile sheepishly about. It's not that it's bad, it's just not... well, it's not like the others. 

But I learned that, like all things, one should not dismiss things based on past experiences. You should give stuff a chance. It's the kindest thing to do.

And so, when I learned that you used roasted cauliflower in this recipe, a lightbulb went off in my brain. ROASTED cauliflower? Well then! And since the recipe did not tell you how to roast the cauliflower, I went to the Google and it told me how to do it. And not only did I do it, but I declare that I did it better: I added a different flavour and managed to reduce the oil content at the same time. Pow pow.

I will admit, when I first tossed the ingredients together, it was not all that attractive:

But when I added the arugula and grape tomatoes, I declared, "Hello, Cinderella!"

For my lunch this week, I divided up the mixture in the first photo and carried it separately from the arugula and tomatoes. I heated the mixture slightly before I put both together. And then, I sat at my desk and devoured it. There may have been some "nom nom" noises emanating from my office, but then, that is not so unusual.

Anyway, here's my version of this recipe. I hope you give it a try.

Rescue Salad (adapted from Bakers Royale's Power Salad)
Serves 4-6
1 cauliflower, trimmed and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
3/4 cups or 1 1/2 whole peeled julienned beets (I used one of these to make them)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 pint of grape tomatoes
3 cups baby arugula 
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper 
In a large bowl, toss the sliced cauliflower olive oil and crushed chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then spread the cauliflower evenly on a baking tray in one layer. Roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. 
In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, beets, and quinoa. Add the warm cauliflower. Stir and cover for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavours to mix together. 
For the dressing: Place the shallot, lime juice, dijon mustard, olive oil and sesame oil in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed (I tossed it all into a plastic yogurt container and used a hand blender). Add in salt and pepper to taste. 
Pour the dressing on the quinoa mixture and toss well to coat. 
Serve on top of a bed of arugula, with tomatoes on the side.

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