This warm quinoa salad recipe uses seasonal ingredients grown by local Kauai farmers like cauliflower, curry leaves, sweet peppers and limes. Ron Miller, co-owner and chef of Hukilau Lanai, typically pairs this recipe with grilled fish at his restaurant known for spectacular food enjoyed in a lovely setting.
Ron studied and graduated from the Hotel and Restaurant Program at Penn State. After meeting his wife, Krissi, and moving to Kauai together some 20 years ago he got a job at Gaylords. When the owners of Gaylords purchased the space for Hukilau Lanai, Ron knew he wanted to run the kitchen and help open the restaurant. In 2009, the couple had the opportunity to purchase the restaurant and never looked back.
“Consistent good quality and buying good ingredients, to me thats how I like to eat at home and at work. It doesn’t have to be super fancy it just needs to be really fresh. Our job is to take all these great products that we get and not mess them up. Every year, the farmers offer more selection, more varieties and they’re trying new things. It’s really cool!”Ron Miller
After a lifetime of shopping at farmers markets, Ron has built a close relationship with many farmers on Kauai who now deliver directly to the restaurant’s doors. The popularity of Hukilau Lanai is a testament to Ron’s commitment to buying fresh, local food. He lends his success to his hard-working team saying, “It’s a very collaborative kitchen… everybody brings something to the table.”
Warm Quinoa Salad by Hukilau Lanai
- 2 lbs. Cauliflower
- 1 tsp Cumin Seed (or ground cumin)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 C. Quinoa
- 2 C. Vegetable Stock (or water)
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 2 Tbsp Onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp Sweet Pepper, diced and seeds removed (bell pepper or spicy peppers work too)
- 1 Tbsp Celery, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 3 Curry Leaves, whole
- 1 tsp Garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp Cilantro, freshly chopped
- 1 Small Lime (or lemon or vinegar)
- 1 scoop Hanalei Taro Company’s Hummus
- Preheat oven to 375˚. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
- Toast cumin seed (or ground cumin) in a dry pan over medium heat for a few seconds.
- Grind cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle.
- Sprinkle ground cumin, salt and pepper over cauliflower. Drizzle cauliflower with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until it starts to brown.
- While cauliflower is roasting; heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add the garam masalla to the dry pan. Toast the spice for a few seconds and add the oil.
- Then add all diced vegetables, curry leaf, garlic, black pepper, and salt. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the stock, increase the heat to high and bring to boil.
- Add quinoa and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes (All of the liquid should be evaporated)
- Remove from heat and stir in the fresh chopped cilantro.
- Squeeze the juice of one small fresh lime over quinoa and toss.
- Arrange quinoa over a bed of lettuce, and scatter roasted cauliflower on top.
- Serve with a dollop of Hanalei Taro Company’s Taro Hummus.
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