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Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad with Quinoa + Buttermilk Dressing

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Why we love it:

I love a big summer salad packed with veggies and some salty sausages …. but only with this dressing. Seriously. Creamy dressings for life. If you’re baking bread, I’d definitely serve this with a thick slice of sourdough on the side.


  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups Water (plus more for veggies, but this is the quinoa ratio)
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • 12 pound Green Beans
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Chives (or fresh chives)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 14 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 pound Chicken Sausage (or use veggies sausages)
  • 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more as needed)
  • 2 heads Butter Lettuce
  • 1 bunch Radish
  • 12 Cucumber
  • 1 Avocado

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. QUINOA

    Combine the quinoa and water in a small pot with a matching lid. Stir in ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring this to a boil, then stir well and reduce to medium heat. Partially cover and cook for about 16 minutes. Return to stir it once or twice and when the timer is done, cover it and turn off the heat. Let it steam for another 5 - 6 minutes.

  • 2. WATER

    Fill a large pasta pot with about half as much water as you’d use for pasta. Bring it to a boil with about 1 Tablespoon of salt.


    Chop the cauliflower into florets. You can even chop up most of the stem and leaves too - discard any parts that are really dried out or yellowed. Place in a bowl and add it to the boiling water. Boil for about 8 minutes.


    Meanwhile, trim the stem end of the green beans, then cut them in half. Add to the cauliflower pot after 8 minutes have passed and boil both for a final 2 - 3 minutes or until both veggies are crispy but tender. Drain and run under cool water to chill. Let them hang out for a bit in a colander to release any extra water.


    Whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, onion powder, dried parsley flakes, garlic powder, pepper and about ½ teaspoon of salt. Give it a taste, you may prefer a little more salt (sometimes I add a splash of lemon if I have one needing a home, but not always). Put in the fridge to chill.


    (Use veggie sausage for vegetarian.) Slice sausages into rounds. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and drizzle in the olive oil. Cook sausages until they’re golden on both sides, about 5 - 7 minutes.

  • 7. LETTUCE

    Wash lettuce and tear it into pieces. Let it dry really well, use a salad spinner if that’s easier.


    Wash and slice the radishes into thin slices. Slice the cucumber into thin rounds. Slice the avocado.


    You can either toss or neatly assemble this salad. Add the lettuce, a scoop of quinoa, the cauliflower and green beans and the raw veggies. Toss in the sausages.

  • 10. SERVING

    Serve with dressing spooned over or tossed together. Add avocado to taste.

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  • PALEO:
    omit the quinoa and swap out for a classic vinaigrette that fits paleo diets
    this is obviously adaptable, add on what you have that’s seasonal and good. Tomatoes, snap peas, carrots, onions, mushrooms, etc.
    great with lentils, beans, or even brown rice
    you can use whatever kind you prefer. Bacon is also amazing on this salad instead - or keep it vegetarian. Smoked salmon or shredded rotisserie chicken would be delicious and easy to add. Grilling a chicken breast or steak would be perfect
    if this one isn’t for you, sub with your favorite dressing. We have tons of recipes in the search area - just search “dressing” or “vinaigrette” - or use something prepared
  • MAYO:
    if you just don’t like mayo, try this recipe with thick Greek yogurt
    have extra that you won’t use? Freeze it! Just measure the amount you have and put it in a container and label the amount so you won’t wonder later
    I actually love raw cauliflower with this creamy dressing. Slice thinly on a mandolin for best results

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • I’d serve this like a “dipping snack” tray and have all of my kids’ favorite components in different sections. You can alter the ingredients to make sure they have what they like and just a side of the quinoa

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. The dressing is actually improved if you make it 1-3 days ahead
  2. Blanch cauliflower and green beans up to 1 day ahead. They’ll last longer but they’ll be most crunchy if eaten within a day or so
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