Saturday, March 02, 2019

Salad Trio with Roasted Cauliflower Soup

This weekend, I created lunch for about 80 women at my church's "Growing in God" retreat, which I enjoy doing every year.    The only thing I knew for sure is that I wanted to make a curried chicken salad and a vegetarian soup.   I always like going to the deli at Arbor Farms for inspiration.  They have an outstanding selection of salads to choose from, and sure enough, I saw a southwest inspired vegan red quinoa salad that looked interesting. Also, there can often be a myriad of dietary constraints when you get that many women together.  This year,  it didn't turn out that way, only one dairy free and one no nuts.   In year's past, I have had to work with vegan and gluten free too.  I like to serve the ladies salad for lunch, because one of the best things about this retreat is the fantastic food served.   Need to keep it light!  For my other salad, I wanted a fruit salad that was lightly sweet.     Since I was already serving curry in my chicken salad, I couldn't use my favorite curried cauliflower soup, but I still wanted to use cauliflower so I came up with a roasted cauliflower soup  seasoned with lots of garlic and onion.

Southwest Red Quinoa Salad
serves 12 as a side or 6 as a main dish

Quinoa Salad
1 1/2 cup dried red quinoa
1 15 oz can corn, drained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onions, diced
2  jalapeƱo, seeded and sliced

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoon cumin
salt, to taste

Rinse quinoa and set aside. Bring 2 3/4 cups water to a boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until water has evaporated and quinoa is cooked. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.  Allow to fully cool. 

Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients in a canning jar and shake until well combined.     After quinoa is cooled, add vegetables and dressing and mix well. 

Creamy Fruit Salad
serves 12 as a side

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar

2 Golden Delicious apples, diced
2 Red Delicious apples, diced
2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
2 cups green seedless grapes, halved
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup chopped  toasted pecans

Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.   In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients and dressing to serve.

Curried Chicken Salad

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T. kosher salt
1 t. pepper
1 large onion, unpeeled and cut in half
½ c. mayo
¼ c. hot mango chutney
2 T. curry powder
2 T. Zante currants
1 green onion, sliced
¼ c. toasted sliced almonds, toasted

In a small crock pot, add onion halves and chicken breasts and cover with water.   Add salt and pepper and cook on low for 3 hours.    Remove chicken, allow to cool and dice it.   Prepare dressing by combining mayo, chutney and curry powder in a small bowl.   Combine with chicken, onion and almonds.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
serves 8

2 heads cauliflower, sliced in 1/2 in slabs
3 T. olive oil
2 T. kosher salt
1 t. pepper
1 large onion, diced
3 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T Better than Bouillon vegetable stock base
5 c. water
1/2 c. heavy cream (optional)
Croutons and parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 F.   On a baking sheet, drizzle cauliflower slabs with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until browned.   Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, soften onion in olive oil on medium heat for about 10 minutes.   Add garlic and stir.   Add cauliflower, water and stock base and simmer for 30 minutes until cauliflower is really soft.   Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.   Add heavy cream and blend until combined.  Serve soup garnished with croutons and parsley