Quinoa Beet Salad with Pistachios and Orange.


Keen-wah? Kean wa? It’s “quinoa,” and if you haven’t yet, it’s time to get with the little berry masquerading as a whole grain. Sometimes, even the most pastry-happy (re: Bakelist) need to take a couple steps back. Because pretty much, if you reach day four of coffee cake lunch, it’s time to get eat some colorful produce and a couple servings of a superfood. Afterall 2013 is the year of the quinoa, according to the United Nations of all authorities. While I’d have cast a vote or two for the year of pie, what can you do? Can’t always get my way in terms of global affairs.

So keep (healthy) cooking interesting and stay on trend at least in the beginning of this year, a little tip: aim for as many different colors and textures as possible to keep the nutritious fun. As may colors as possible, in one dish. On one spoon.

Wait, you mean you don’t cook recipes based on how many different colors you can get into one dish? Maybe you should. You’ll end up with tupperwares full of magenta colored salad spiked with little green pistachios. Automatically fun to eat.

BeetOa2 (quinoa with baby cactus)

For things like “grain” salads—again quinoa, catching me on that kooky berry business—I’m more of a taste and adjust as you go kind of dresser, as opposed to perfectly measuring out each ingredient. Below are my best approximations, but feel free to edit and change as you see fit. I ended up with an exceptionally smoky, orange-spiked dressing that played very nicely with the sweet beets, salty pistachios, and creamy goat cheese. But if you’re not feeling the smoked sea salt or maybe want a more sour citrus, choose a pink sea salt and some lime zest. It’ll change the salad but as you’ll be able to see, it stays within the colors-to-the-max theme.

Eat the rainbow?

Quinoa Beet Salad with Pistachios and Orange
Serves 4

3 medium-large beets, scrubbed and trimmed
1 cup red quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1 ½ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup roasted, salted, and shelled pistachios, chopped
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Zest and juice from half a large navel orange
Smoked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets in aluminum foil to create a packet. Roast beets for 1 hour, or until tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

2. While beets are roasting, cook quinoa. Bring stock and quinoa to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally or until stock is fully absorb. Remove from heat and keep covered for 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and let cool completely.

3. Peel cooled beets and slice each beet into 12 parts. In a large mixing bowl toss the beets, quinoa, pistachios, goat cheese, olive oil, vinegar, orange zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days.

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