In addition to the protein and other nutrients present in quinoa, multicolored quinoa also has antioxidant-rich phytonutrients called anthocyanins present in the red pigments. If you want a prettier, more intensely flavored cauliflower, take the extra step of roasting it (see variation below).
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
1 cup multicolored quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
Salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds fava beans
1/2 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 tablespoons chopped chives
For the dressing
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, puréed
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
5 tablespoons buttermilk
Freshly ground pepper
Rinse the quinoa in several changes of water. Heat a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat and add the quinoa. Stir until the water on the grains has evaporated and the quinoa begins to crackle and smell toasty. Add the water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes, until some of the quinoa grains display a little white spiral and the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, place a dish towel over the top of the pot and return the lid. Let sit for 15 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Meanwhile, shell and skin the fava beans. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Drop the shelled fava beans into the boiling water and boil 5 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer immediately to the cold water. Allow the beans to cool for several minutes, then slip off their skins by pinching off the eye of the skin and squeezing gently. Hold several beans in one hand and use your other thumb and forefinger to pinch off the eyes; have a bowl for the shelled favas close at hand, and this will not take a very long time.
Bring the water in the pot back to a boil and drop in the cauliflower. Boil 3 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, drain and dry on paper towels. Alternatively, steam the cauliflower for 4 to 5 minutes, or see the roasting variation below.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss the quinoa, fava beans, cauliflower and chives in a bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve.
The salad will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Roasted Cauliflower Variation
For a prettier, more intensely flavored cauliflower, roast it while you cook the quinoa. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment. Slice the cauliflower 1/2 inch thick, sprinkle with salt and curry powder (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, stirring or flipping the pieces over with tongs halfway through, until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned. Remove from the heat and cut into smaller pieces if desired, then toss with the other salad ingredients as directed.