Beets are the bomb. They’re nutrient-rich, serving up credible doses of Folate, Potassium, Magnesium and Vitamin C. They also taste delicious: earthy and comforting, but with more flair than, say, potatoes. Not only that, but they’re multi-talented, too; you can cut them into chunks (peel first), toss with some olive oil and roast them with other root vegetables. You can even juice or pickle them… Or make this delectable quinoa salad. It’s simple and sophisticated: perfect for summer, with dried cranberries for a hint of sweetness, and capers for some kick. But best of all—thanks to beets’ finest feature, their hue—it’s pink. Intensely pink. This ain’t no pastel cutesy stuff. This is visual Boom Boom Pow that tells your taste buds what’s coming. Which is, of course, a very good time.

I served this for dinner alongside apricot-glazed pork chops, but it held its own solo as lunch the next day. Quinoa’s high in protein (as are walnuts, also featured here), which filled us up and kept us going into the afternoon, without a blood sugar surge and drop.

That’s my kind of tasty. Here’s how you get yours:

Click "Read More" below for the recipe.
What You’ll Need

1 cup quinoa (uncooked)

3 or 4 medium-sized beets

½ medium-sized red onion, or one medium-sized shallot, finely chopped

½ cup chopped walnut pieces (optional… don’t do this if you’re allergic to nuts)

¼ cup dried cranberries

2 teaspoons (or to taste) capers

2-3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice from one lemon (2 to 3 Tablespoons)

3 teaspoons mustard (as in Dijon mustard, not yellow, and not ground)

1 teaspoon honey

pinch of sweet Spanish paprika (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

What You’ll Do

  1. Rinse your quinoa (full disclosure: I always skip this step) and bring to a boil with 2 cups water, covering the pan. Once It comes to a boil, turn it down to simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes—until all of the water is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and chop your beets into bite-sized pieces. Steam until tender. I use a pressure cooker for this. You could also use roasted beets (again, toss with olive oil and stick them in the oven), which takes a while but basically turns beets into delicious vegetable candy… If you have time, do it. If not, steam. Bottom line is you need your beets cooked.
  3. Mix the beets through the parlsey with the quinoa.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients, for your dressing. Note that the dressing ingredients measurements are approximate, as I just eyeball dressings here at home… So taste and modify at your leisure.
  5. Toss dressing with beet/quinoa mixture, taste for seasoning, and serve warm (this is also great cold, as leftovers).

Did you do it? What’d you think? Any suggestions or ideas on variations or food pairings? (And isn’t it fun to cook in pink?)
06/17/2011 05:32

I love beets and this looks delicious! I'll have to try the recipe!


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