february big ass salad challenge: winter glow bowl with spiced chickpeas, roasted cauliflower, pomegranates & curry vinaigrette.

a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good!a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbutter

eeeeeee! you guyssssss! today is the day, today is the day! i’m so excited to be kicking off a brand new monthly series on pwwb: the pwwb big ass salad challenge.

this has been in the works for the past month or so, & i’m SO excited to finally share it with you!


best. day. ever. 🤗

wait. back up. what the hell is a big ass salad?? a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbutter

so, i figured you might ask that. several of you have been asking me on instagram over the past couple of weeks. & i have to chuckle a little bit every time because it’s pretty simple, really: a big ass salad is just that…a huge salad!

big ass salads also happen to be my favorite food group in the world.

i mean, like, right behind ice cream. & cookies. & pizza. & cheese. yes. cheeeeese. 😍😍😍 that’s fair right?

right. (👈🏼 aaaand this is why we’re friends. 😉)

but honestly, i’ll take a big ass salad any day of the week.

because what’s not to love about a big bowl of goodness that’s just as nourishing as it is filling? something that leaves you feeling satisfied, but not heavy or lethargic. the kind of good food you can feel really good about eating, ya know? a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbutter

i fell for big ass salads when i was working my corporate job. there’s a spot in the skyway near my old office that has the MOST killer salads. but at $13 a pop, my big ass salad obsession wasn’t exactly the most financially responsible indulgence 2-3 times a week.

(see also: explaining to your husband that you spent $50 in a week on…salad. not exactly the most fun conversation of our marriage. 😬😂)

so, i started meal prepping my own salads to pack for lunch throughout the work week. & i kiiiiind of fell in love with it. not only was it an easy, healthy & cost-effective lunch, experimenting with my own favorite flavors & ingredients became a really fun challenge.

& not to brag on myself, but these days i make a killer big ass salad. like, even chris, my bacon-loving husband, loves my salads. big ass salads are kiiind of my culinary specialty. so! every month i’ll be sharing with you a big ass salad that’s totally worth obsessing over. they’ll be flavorful, nourishing, filling, meal prep friendly, & husband approved. (…honestly, does it get better than that?? 😎) be sure to check back at the beginning of each month to see what new salad we’re tossing up, & please, please, please be sure to share your big ass salads on social media by using #playswellwithbutter and #bigasssalad! i can’t wait to see them. 🤗

& we’re kicking off the big ass salad challenge with my newest obsession: meet the ✨winter glow bowl✨.a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbutter

inspired by my ultimate late summer salad obsession, this winter glow bowl has many of the same glow-worthy ingredients, but also TONS of the best produce that winter has to offer:

  • spiced chickpeas roasted to crispy perfection
  • roasted lemon cauliflower (inspired by my fave broccoli, omg it’s so good)
  • the prettiest pomegranate jewels (😍)
  • creamy avocado perfection
  • quinoa (for a little substance!)
  • curry vinaigrette-massaged shredded kale✨🌿

…aka everything there is to love about winter produce, plus the cozy & warming flavors of homemade curry vinaigrette. winter glow bowls are just as comforting as a big healthy hug in a bowl! a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbutter

& we’re talkin’…like, the kind of feel-good hug that high-rise leggings give your tummy when you shimmy on into ‘em.

(yup, totally went there, but it’s totally true: this winter glow bowl is nourishing, comforting, feel-good food. plain & simple.)

& guys? here’s the beauty of this winter glow bowl: it’s SO easy to prep for the week. 30 minutes is all it takes:a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbuttera nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbuttera nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbutter
  • spiced chickpeas & lemon cauliflower roast up at the same time! yup, yup! the chickpeas & the cauliflower have the same roasting temperature & cook time, so your oven can do double duty to get both done at once while you prep the rest of the salad. you can even use the same bowl to season the chickpeas & the cauliflower up to avoid a mountain of meal prep dishes. double win! 
  • get some quinoa cooking on the stove once the chickpeas & cauliflower are roasting away. you just have to cook the quinoa according to package directions, then fluff it up with a fork once it’s cooked. easy peasy!
  • shred a bunch of kale. this is probably the most tedious part about making any kale salad, but let me tell you: the payoff is HUGE. when kale is finely shredded, it still has tons of great texture without the woody, chewy texture that gives kale a bad rap. for this reason, i hate those store-bought, pre-chopped kale. usually the pieces of chopped kale are still pretty large, & more often than not the woody stem is still in the kale. trust me on this. buy a bunch of kale & take the couple of minutes to destem & shred it yourself. you won’t regret it! 
  • then massage it. 😎 yes, it sounds completely insane, but YES, massaging kale makes an incredible difference in its flavor & texture in any salad. the kale softens up quite a bit & absorbs all of the flavor of the vinaigrette, dressing, or oil it’s massaged with. you don’t even have to mix up the dressing separately! just add all of the ingredients to a large bowl & work it together with your hands for a minute or two until the kale is softened. the beauty of kale is that it’s hearty enough to hold up to sitting in a dressing for up to a few days…& that’s a total big ass salad win! 
  • & lastly, deseed a pomegranate…aka the prettiest couple of minutes you’ll have in your kitchen all week. 😍
  • assemble your winter glow bowl & enjoy immediately, or portion them into individual containers to take for lunch all week long. 
so…give this winter glow bowl a whirl this month & show me your creations by tagging them with #playswellwithbutter & #bigasssalad on social media! i can’t wait to see them!!! a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good! #salad #mealprep #saladrecipe #kalesalad #curryvinaigrette #roastedcauliflower #roastedchickpeas #playswellwithbutter
if you love this winter glow bowl, here are a couple of other big ass salads to check out! 
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winter glow bowl with spiced chickpeas, roasted cauliflower & curry vinaigrette.

a nourishing & filling winter salad, this winter glow bowl is loaded with the best feel-good winter ingredients: roasted cauliflower, pomegranate arils, avocado, & kale, which all get tossed together in a homemade curry vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas. winter salads have never looked this good!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 large salads

Ingredients

1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

2 lemons, divided

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

1/2 cup dry quinoa

1 bunch curly kale, stems removed and finely shredded (about 6 cups)

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided

1 pomegranate, arils removed

1 avocado, thinly sliced

optional: protein of choice (see recipe notes)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil and set aside.
  2. Roast the chickpeas: In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Toss to combine. Transfer the spiced chickpeas to one of the prepared baking sheets. Roast for 25 minutes, or until crisp. 
  3. Roast the cauliflower: In a medium bowl (you can even use the same one you used for the chickpeas!), combine the cauliflower florets, 1 teaspoon of the Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss to combine, then arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the second prepared baking sheet from Step 1. Roast for 25 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown. 
  4. Cook the quinoa: Meanwhile, as the chickpeas and cauliflower roast, cook the quinoa on the stovetop according to package directions. Once cooked through and fully absorbed, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside. 
  5. Massage the kale: Place the shredded kale in a large bowl. Season with the curry powder and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Drizzle with the honey, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon. Using your hands, work the dressing into the kale for 2-3 minutes until the kale has softened quite a bit and is bright green in color.
  6. Assemble the salad: Add the roasted chickpeas, roasted cauliflower, quinoa, and pomegranate arils to the large bowl with the kale. Toss to combine. Pack into individual containers for grab-&-go meals this week, or enjoy immediately topped with sliced avocado. 

Notes

massaging kale? is that even a thing?! YES, it is, & it honestly makes all the difference in the world in the flavor & texture of kale. if you still really don’t love kale, that’s completely fine. swap it on out with your greens of choice – spinach would be great! if you use a less hearty green, definitely make/store the dressing separately and toss the winter glow bowl with it only once you’re ready to eat your salad to prevent wilting. 

you can also TOTALLY add some extra protein to these winter glow bowls. my favorite easy go-tos are:

  • shredded rotisserie chicken. i mean, it just doesn’t get easier than that.
  • my homemade “fauxtisserie” chicken. again, so easy & super healthy. you can whip up a batch while you’re meal prepping! all you do is season boneless skinless chicken breasts generously with salt & ground black pepper, then roast them for 8-10 minutes in a 425 degree oven. that’s it!
  • precooked chicken sausage links. i love the kind they sell in 1-lb packs at trader joe’s, & i’ve also recently been buying the never any! brand from aldi. they have super clean ingredients & are very well-priced. spinach & feta is my fave!
don’t forget to pin this winter glow bowl for later!

About jess

i help modern gals turn everyday moments into celebrations with recipes that are just as easy as they are elegant.

2 Comments

  1. big ass salads are my favorite food group! curry dressing sounds amazing – can’t wait to try this!

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