Most weeknights I have some variation of a “bowl” meal for dinner, meaning a healthy grain as a base, with vegetables and/or protein nestled in, a dressing or sauce, and toppings for some texture. You may have noticed these kinds of recipes are popping up on lots of menus and blogs, and for good reason! They’re easy to prep, customizable, filling, and can be delicious if you play your cards right! My latest obsession has been this quinoa bowl with roasted cauliflower, smokey Spanish romesco sauce, and fresh arugula.
Romesco is a smokey red pepper sauce that originated in the Catalonia region of Spain, and it’s deservedly become a staple akin to pesto in kitchens everywhere. Romesco is great on grilled meats or fish, as a dip or a sandwich spread, the list goes on! Romesco has many variations, and this is my take on the delicious classic – my version is a bit more textured, so if you want this to be more like a sauce, gradually add more oil and pulse in the food processor until you’ve reached your desired consistency. As a note, this recipe called for smoked paprika, which is available in most grocery stores, and it adds a very distinct delicious flavor – so definitely use it if you can! If not, regular paprika will work. Keep this romesco recipe in your back pocket, you’ll want to eat it with everything!
Serves 4, or 2 very hungry people (I typically make it for dinner for two)
- 1 Head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Cup dry quinoa + 2 Cups water
- Arugula – I like to add about ½ cup on each individual bowl (Another leafy green like spinach or baby kale would work as well)
- Optional toppings: toasted almonds or pine nuts
- Romesco Sauce:
- 12 Ounce jar of roasted bell peppers, drained – or if you want to roast 2 yourself, here’s how
- 1 Garlic clove
- ¾ Cups toasted almonds (you can buy pre-toasted almonds, or toast them yourself)
- 2 Teaspoons tomato paste
- 2.5 Teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
- Generous pinch of salt
- Up to ½ Cup olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 450*. Cut the cauliflower into florets and drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, tossing halfway through. The cauliflower will have a good amount of golden and crispy bits on the outside when fully roasted.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, you’ll make the quinoa as well as the romesco. To make the quinoa, bring 1 cup of dry quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil, and then cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quinoa has absorbed the water and is light and fluffy.
- While the quinoa is simmering, make the romesco by adding the bell peppers, garlic, almonds, tomato paste, smoked paprika, lemon juice, parsley, and salt in a food processor and pulse. Gradually drizzle in olive oil to desired consistency.
- Once the quinoa is fully cooked, divide into individual bowls, and top each bowl with roasted cauliflower, a scoop of romesco, arugula, and desired toppings. Top bowls with a fresh squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Enjoy! Refrigerate the romesco you don't use in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
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