Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Beet, Orange & Quinoa Salad

I love salad.  But not your ordinary, garden variety, lettuce and tomato salad.  The kind with interesting ingredients and lots of flavors and textures going on.  Really, I think I would choose a fabulous salad over a big ol' piece of chocolate cake.  Well...maybe.....

When I do make salad, I like to find ways to add protein to it, just so it's a bit more satisfying.  I'm always adding nuts, cheese (of course), and sometimes grains, which can be a great source of protein, but also makes the salad a little more filling.  The quinoa in this salad adds protein, flavor and a great little crunch.  I like to use the tricolor quinoa as I feel it adds a little more flavor and crunch.

The secret to this salad...fresh roasted beets.  You can use canned, if you must.  A better choice would be the Love Beets that you find ready to go in the produce section of the supermarket.  But really, if you've never roasted a beet, you should.  The flavor is wonderful and earthy and just plain delicious. I'll roast a bunch (which is typically 2 or 3 beets) on the weekend, then I have them on hand to use during the week.  You'll be surprised just how far one bunch of roasted beets will go.

I've also used oranges in this recipe, but if you're short on time, you can used canned or jarred mandarin oranges packed in juice.  You can also top this salad with a little crumbled goat cheese, but if you're watching your calories (after all, summer is just around the corner)  skip the cheese or just use a small amount.

3 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups sliced, roasted beets
2 oranges, sectioned (reserve juice)
2 green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons reserved orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted if desired

Combine quinoa, beets, orange sections and green onion in a large bowl.

Combine reserved orange juice, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour over quinoa mixture and stir gently until combined.

Serve salad over spinach and top with walnuts.

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