Garlicky Gluten-Free Cauliflower-Quinoa Fingers

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Combining cauliflower and quinoa might not be something that ever even thought of, but they make for quite the pair! These Cauliflower-Quinoa Fingers have a garlicky kick to them that is irresistible. That’s not all, though, because they’re also good for you, and gluten-free!

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: about 14 pieces


  • 1 head / 420 g / 5 cups cauliflower, washed, dried, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) florets
  • 42 g / 3 tbsp Crystal margarine, melted and divided
  • 1 small / 2/3 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves/ 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 85 g /1/2 cup quinoa (preferably white), rinsed and drained
  • 180 ml / 3/4 cup water, divided
  • 6 g / 1 tsp fine sea salt, divided
  • 2 g / 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 10 g / 6 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 g / 1 tsp dried basil, divided
  • 1 g / 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 30 g / 1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 7 g / 1 tbsp parmesan cheese


    1. Preheat oven to 400℉ (200℃). Grease and line an 8 x 8 x 2 inches” (20 x 20 x 5 centimeters) square pan with parchment paper.
    2. Place cauliflower florets into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse the cauliflower until pieces resemble rice. Do not over-process, as this will result in a puree.

Cauliflower Fingers - how to (1 of 9)

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    1. In a large non-stick frying pan, over medium-high heat, fry 2 tablespoons (28 grams) Crystal margarine until hot and melted. Add cauliflower pieces and cook for about 5 minutes. Add onions, cook until onions begin to soften and cauliflower begins to brown; 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute; do not burn garlic.

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    1. Transfer cauliflower mixture into a dish lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture, and place several sheets of paper towel on top of the mixture and press down. Set aside.

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    1. In a small pot, over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of Crystal margarine. Add the rinsed and drained quinoa, and stir until lightly toasted; about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) water and 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine sea salt and the garlic powder. Stir and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid and simmer; about 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Take off heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

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    1. While the quinoa is resting, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) of water with the ground flax seed. Set aside to thicken.
    2. Place cooked quinoa and any leftover liquid that may or may not be left in the pot into a blender or food processor. Add the flax mixture, 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) dried basil, dried oregano, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) of salt, and maple syrup to the quinoa. Blend on high until mixture resembles a thick batter. Transfer batter into a bowl, and stir in the cooked cauliflower mixture.

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    1. Pour into prepared baking pan. Spread and press evenly into the pan with a rubber spatula (or use your hands).

Cauliflower Fingers - how to (7 of 9)

    1. In a small bowl, mix together the gluten-free bread crumbs with the parmesan cheese, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) of dried basil.

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    1. Sprinkle the top with gluten-free bread crumb mixture. Press into the surface of the cauliflower-quinoa batter. Place pan into the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden and crispy. Take out of the oven and cool completely; 30 minutes.

Cauliflower Fingers - how to (9 of 9)

  1. Cut the cauliflower-quinoa square in half, then into 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) “fingers”. If desired, place back into the oven to reheat. Serve as an alternative to fries, as a side, or as an appetizer.

Chef’s Note

  • Replace the 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) of water used to cook the quinoa with 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) of sodium-free or homemade vegetable stock.
  • If crispier fingers are desired, once the batter has finished baking and cooled, cut into fingers then space those fingers out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place baking sheet back into the oven to crisp up; about 8 to 10 minutes.

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