Quinoa and Cauliflower Salad with Popped Sorghum

Sorghum, a type of grass, has seeds that can be popped like popcorn. Patterson tops his nutty, crunchy quinoa salad with popped sorghum, which gives it a buttery flavor. You can also substitute regular popping corn. Slideshow: More Quinoa RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook 

Quinoa and Cauliflower Salad with Popped Sorghum
Photo: © Chris Court
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 1 cup small (1-inch) cauliflower florets

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed

  • 1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, if popping sorghum

  • 1/4 cup popping sorghum, or 2 cups popped sorghum (see Note)

  • 1 tablespoon minced chives

  • 1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with salt and toss to coat. Roast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown. Let cool.

  2. Meanwhile, bring 2 medium saucepans of lightly salted water to a simmer. Cook the red quinoa and white quinoa separately over moderate heat until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

  3. If popping sorghum, heat the vegetable oil in a medium, heavy pot until almost smoking. Add the sorghum, cover and cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping has almost stopped; pour into a bowl and season with salt.

  4. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, red and white quinoa, almonds, chives, rice vinegar and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and toss well. Transfer the salad to plates, top with the popped sorghum and serve.

Make Ahead

The cooked quinoa can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.


Both unpopped and popped sorghum are available at amazon.com.

Suggested Pairing

Minerally, medium-bodied Vermentino.

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