This simple, gluten free Romanesco Salad with Quinoa and Herbs makes a delicious light meal. Works great also as a side dish paired with chicken or fish.
This romanesco salad with quinoa and herbs is loosely based on the idea of the tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a well-known Middle-Eastern vegetarian dish, which is traditionally made with fresh parsley and bulgur wheat. In this recipe I swapped bulgur for quinoa and used chives and mint, in addition to the parsley, for a more intense herb flavour. I also used more quinoa than herbs (traditional tabbouleh would contain less bulgur and more herbs). The addition of romanesco cauliflower makes this salad a satisfying vegetarian lunch rather than just a side dish.
Another tabbouleh style recipe you might like is this easy Cauliflower Tabbouleh with Pomegranate.
How to prepare the Romanesco
Baby Romanesco (also known as Broccoflower or Roman Cauliflower) is a very decorative vegetable. It’s small and shapely with a pointy top, a perfect accompaniment to this refreshing spring salad. Much like broccoli or cauliflower you can prepare it by briefly boiling or seaming it. But the quickest way to prepare it is to cook it in the microwave. Romanesco is quite small so it only needs a couple of minutes in the microwave.
You can add it hot or chilled into the salad. If you are planning to use it chilled microwave it ahead and then refrigerate, once cooled, until you are ready to make the salad. This will save you time when putting the salad together.
Not only does Romanesco look pretty on the plate (it won’t wilt or lose its lovely light green colour after being cooked briefly) it is also a handy ingredient to add to your lunch when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen.
Assembling the salad
Remember that you can cook the quinoa ahead (and keep it in the fridge for a few days) to save time. Once you’ve prepared the quinoa and the romanesco cauliflower the salad can be assembled in a matter of minutes. Simply chop up the herbs, combine with the other ingredients and scatter the pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate adds sweetness and crunch to the dish so it’s a great ingredient to use. A drizzle of walnut oil at the end completes this salad (highly recommended).
You can either serve the romanesco whole, as I have done, or chop it up and combine with the quinoa mixture.
You might also like my collection of 15+ easy vegan salads!
Romanesco Salad with Quinoa and Herbs
- 2 Baby Romanesco
- 1.5 cup cooked quinoa you need approx. 1/2 cup raw
- 2 tablespoons each: chives mint leaves, parsley - finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil I used rapeseed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 garlic clove crushed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Serve with pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of walnut oil
- Cook the Romanesco (one at a time) in the microwave for 1.5 - 2 minutes (cooking times may vary depending on the size of the vegetable). Remove and set aside (you can serve it hot or cold).
- In a large bowl combine the quinoa, herbs, oil, lemon juice and garlic, season to taste and stir thoroughly. Spoon a desired amount of the mixture onto a plate, place the Romanesco on top, scatter pomegranate seeds, drizzle with the walnut oil and serve.