This is the time of year when meal planning involves nothing more than a trip to the farmer's market. Inspiration is piled high in baskets tucked into every stall. (Or if you arrive a bit too late, some empty bins where the season's first raspberries once enticed swarms of giddy shoppers.) We meander through the crowd, stopping to sniff, sample, and gather up bundles of the week's most flourishing crops.
Last weekend, tight heads of pale green cauliflower stacked between carrots and beets lured us in. It was time for a light summer salad. To retain the unique color, we grated the cauliflower through the large holes of a box grater and kept it raw to highlight its tender crunch. Tossed with cooked red quinoa, spring onion, dried cranberries, crunchy almonds, and zesty preserved lemon, this salad makes a perfect weekday lunch or a satisfying vegetarian dinner.
Quinoa and Grated Cauliflower Salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/4 cup water, plus more for soaking
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 spring onions or white onions (about 1 cup), finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 medium head cauliflower, florets grated through the large holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon (or finely grated lemon zest)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Soak quinoa in a small bowl of cold water for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Drain. Place quinoa in a small saucepan with 1 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat with lid still ON and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Season with 1 teaspoon salt.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until very soft and beginning to brown on the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, paprika, and cook, stirring, until fragrant and toasted, about 1 minute. Add cranberries and cook for another minute, stirring. Add cauliflower, cooked quinoa, almonds, and preserved lemon. Toss to combine and remove from heat. Taste, and season with more salt as needed. Fold in fresh herbs and serve. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.