Hello; I am in love. I’d normally drop a joke about this tasty salad demystifying the belief that you “can’t make friends with salad”, but that joke has run its course — especially on this blog. I’m pretty sure I’ve used it in several salad posts, actually. I need a new line; I am just too predictable.
This salad, however, is anything but predictable.
This bowl of goodness is a dream for anyone that harbors a strong love and appreciation for earthy beets. These ruby gems are shredded, then tossed in a citrusy vinaigrette along with creamy chunks of avocado, carrots, edamame, hearty quinoa, and toasty pepitas.
Over the weekend, we hosted dinner for our recently engaged friends. Since I take great joy in hosting and feeding the ones I love, I always want something to be a colorful show-stopper. It’s similar to how Michael Scott from The Office treats the annual ‘Secret Santa’ — “I love you this many dollars worth”; only for me, it’s more along the lines of “I love you this much efforts worth”.
It’s not that this salad is a hassle per se, but between preparing hors d’oeuvres, a veg side and parchment fish packets, grating beets was the last thing I wanted to do. But it was oh-so-worth it. It’s also definitely worth mentioning that the leftovers are fantabulous.
Bright Beet Salad With Quinoa + Toasted Pepitas
I’m not the mastermind behind this recipe, though. I adapted this bad boy from Kate over at Cookie + Kate. My tweaks reflect the simple fact that I wanted a salad that celebrated beets and quinoa a little harder than the greens. I love me some greens, but since I just gave you all my (very) green roasted romanesco salad, I wanted to bring you a healthful mix that focused more on the nourishing goodies like beets, wholesome quinoa, edamame, and toasted pepitas.
The vinaigrette for this is also worth its own little para. Holy cannoli, it is legit. I love whipping up my own vinaigrettes; there is great satisfaction in coming up with an impromptu dressing that boasts a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. (Or am I just a nerd?) I used Kate’s vinaigrette recipe as a guide, but I changed a few things out of personal preference. I swapped the lime juice for lemon (love lime, but I don’t utilize lemons enough), and I used less cider vinegar. For the fresh herbs, I tossed in some chopped parsley. My sweetening agent was none other than my trusty and beloved pure Canadian maple syrup.
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Bright Beet Salad With Quinoa + Toasted Pepitas
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- Vegetable broth (optional) This is for cooking the quinoa in, as opposed to water; measured amount will depend on package instructions.
- 1 cup edamame The boiled + salted edamame you can purchase at Whole Foods is perfect for this; otherwise, prepare as per package instructions.
- 1/3 cup pepitas, toasted
- 2 medium-sized uncooked beets, peeled
- 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and julienned or shredded
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 2 cups torn or roughly-chopped supergreens; spinach, chard, arugula, and/or kale You can use one of these or a mix.
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBSP pure maple syrup
- Juice of one small lemon
- 1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper, to taste
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under running water for a minute or until water runs clear.
- Place quinoa in a medium-sized pot or sauce pan along with vegetable broth (or water) — amount may vary, so go by the package directions. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to a low simmer, and let it go for 15 minutes.
- When the quinoa is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it rest, covered, for approx. 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside.
- Toasting Pepitas
- Place the raw pepitas in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Stir often to keep them from burning. When ready, the pepitas will be fragrant and will turn a light golden color around the edges; a few may even make popping sounds. When done, remove from heat and let cool.
- Grate the beets and transfer to a large bowl. To avoid a red mess, do this at the sink and run the beet under cool water every so often while grating. You could also spiralize the beets using a spiralizer and simply chopping the ribbons into bite-sized pieces afterward.
- Peel the carrots, and either shred them or julienne them. Toss them into the bowl with the beets.
- Once the quinoa has cooled off a bit, add it to the bowl with the beets and carrots, along with the edamame, cubed avocado, greens and toasted pepitas.
- Place all of the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until well blended and emulsified. You could also place the ingredients into a jar and shake until well mixed.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Give it a taste, and season with S+P if needed. Serve.