Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fruity Quinoa Beet Salad (Gluten-Free | Vegan)

THE BEETS! When I was just about the age of 7, my favorite musical artists went in order of something like this: Ace of Base, Donna Lewis, and ... The Beets. It was awesome. I actually got excited when the underlying theme of one of Doug's episodes was about them.

What's even more funny is I didn't get what beets or tofu were until many, many years later. My 7-year-old self would have been shocked to see the me today eating them on the regular. They're actual foods? Like, people put them in their mouths and digest those things as a way to get nutrients? FLOORED, I would have been.

I'm trying to think here, and I'm about 99% positive that I never had beets growing up. Which is totally fine, since my mom made sure to have at least 3 other vegetables on the table every dinner. I actually remember her telling me a little while ago that she  doesn't like to make them because my dad overdosed on them growing up with my grandma.

(My grandma is a fantastic, Norwegian-gone-Minnesota woman who also used to eat milk bread, which is exactly what it sounds like. Simple, cheap and healthy, according to the standards back then. What else do you want?)

Anyway, this salad was the direct result of me cooking beets for the first time, and you had better believe it's happening again. They're so easy! And nutritious! And radically pink! I think they also will go with a lot of other ingredients to make dinnertime that much more quick and healthy. And did I mention they're pink, which makes your kitchen feel all rosy?

My plan of attack is to buy more than just 4 beets next time and cook them all together in a giant pot on the weekend, and then dive into them throughout the week. These suckers are tasty cold, too.

 That dressing up there is pretty fantastic as well, which could be paired with so many other dishes. I'm thinking a goat cheese-based salad, or a marinade for tofu. So many options!

Fruity Quinoa Beet Salad
Salad and dressing adapted from Oh She Glows

4 fresh beets, with greens still on
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 orange, peeled
1 apple (I used Granny Smith)
1 pear
2 T coconut oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 T diced garlic
the beet greens that came with your beets, washed and torn into small pieces
4 leeks, sliced
2 T sunflower seeds

1. Wash and cut the ends off the beets; place into a large pot and fill with water. Cover and bring to a boil until they're tender. It should take around 30 minutes, depending on the size. After 30, I started pricking mine with a fork every 5 minutes to see when they were tender enough to chop.

2. Rinse the quinoa and pour into a pot with 2 cups cold water. Cover, bring to a boil, and then turn down to a nice simmer until all the water is absorbed. When this is finished, place to the side and let cool.

3.Dice the orange, apple and pear into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large bowl.

4. In a saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium-low heat for a couple minutes. Add in the diced onion and garlic, and cook for 1 minutes. Add in the beet greens and saute until wilted. Set aside to cool until the beets are finished cooking.

5. Once the beets are finished, carefully drain and set them aside for a couple minutes until cool enough to handle. Remove the skins (they should just fall right off) and chop into bite-sized pieces. Add the beets, beet greens, quinoa, sunflower seeds and sliced leeks to the fruit bowl and mix all together. Pour the dressing on (recipe below) and thoroughly combine.

**I also think a soft, tangy cheese, like gorgonzola, would go fantastic in here. That will be happening next time.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

5 T apple cider vinegar
3 T melted coconut oil
12 fresh raspberries
dash of salt
1 T maple syrup

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the coconut oil. Add in the raspberries and mash until they're incorporated with the oil. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix together!

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