nothing beats a beet quinoa salad … except maybe TWO

When I was in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, my girlfriend Stephanie and her husband Rob had a Cowboy-themed cookout that was part pot-luck … and there was this amazing beet and quinoa salad.

I cornered the maker of the salad (who turned out to be this incredible woman Michaela) and asked for details because I knew I was going to crave this thing. It was the most gorgeous purple color. Savory. Sweet. Hearty. Satisfying. Just … AWESOME.

So I got the low-down from Michaela (but of course I didn’t write any of it down because I was just sure I would remember everything in it).

And I made a really really good beet quinoa salad.

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So good, actually, that I convinced myself that it was a pretty great replica and I made a batch at Abby’s the other night (during our cookfest and recipe-test extravaganza) and was thrilled that her family loved it, too!

beet salad bowl

This is how I made it:

beet salad ing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup quinoa (soaked and then cooked … yields about 1.5 cups cooked quinoa)
  • 1 cup roasted beets (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup raw zucchini (chopped)
  • 3 large scallions (diced)
  • 1 medium crisp apple like a honey crisp or pink lady (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed and finely chopped into a paste
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Abby roasted the beets before I got there, so all I had to do was chop them. But to roast your beets, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, peel and rough chop the beets, toss in a little melted coconut oil and arrange them in one layer in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. And roast for about 20-25 minutes (if they are still a bit al dente at that point, let them cook for another 10 minutes … the speed with which they cook really depends on the size pieces you’re roasting). Out of the oven, put the beets in a medium bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

Pre-cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package and let it chill in the fridge, too, until you’re ready to use it.

Next, chop the zucchini, scallions and apple.

Combine the quinoa, chopped beets, scallions, apple, zucchini, garlic, ginger and pumpkin seeds into a large bowl. Squeeze in juice from one lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil and stir to combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 6 servings.

Sounds pretty great, right? And it is!!!

But just to be sure, before I went over to Abby’s, I emailed Michaela to ask her if I had the ingredients right. First off, I wasn’t sure she would remember me. Secondly, I wanted to wow her with my great memory of her excellently good salad.

And I am chagrined. Because when I got home that night I got an email from Michaela … Thankfully, she knew who I was. But I am completely embarrassed to say that I missed about half of the goodness in her salad. Here was her response (in italics):

“Haha!

I didn’t forget you Jeanne! (Whew!)

Great that your’e back and in the groove of things. I kept thinking of you and your lovely husband and wonder how it might be in Montana now at the end of summer. I checked out your blog and I love it !! (YAY, O’MAMAS!!)
Here’s what I did:
  • 1 cup of Red Quinoa
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth. (I used water)
  • steam yellow onion, mushrooms, zucchini in coconut oil (no onion or mushroom or coconut oil … oops)
  • add himalayan salt, provencal herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil) (fresh herbs?  ugh … I’m a space cadet)
  • squeeze ginger and garlic through garlic press
  • roast asparagus with a little olive oil, cut into small bites (of course there was asparagus … now I remember.  so good)
  • mix everything with the steamed quinoa
  • add shredded big raw beat, hacked walnut, apple (sour), dried cranberries, (did you notice the walnut?  I really am embarrassed … )
  • fresh parsley and chives
  • apple cider vinegar and lemon juice
  • a small can of bamboo sprouts (not necessary at all)
  • last you add fresh blueberries, (the fact that I forgot the blueberries is the most embarrassing of all … they were a burst of color and flavor … so good.  I want Michaela to cook for me every night.)
  • sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
I prepared most of the salad on the day before but added more of freshly steamed onion, zucchini and mushrooms the next day when I added fresh parsley, chives and blueberries.
I flushed the blueberries in boiling hot water and added them at the very end.
All ingredients were organic and I steamed and roasted in very low temperature so it still had a bite to it when it came into the mix.
I think the apple cider vinegar is very important to balance the quinoa in the salad. Add until you like the taste.”

So … yeah … now you have recipes for TWO great beet salads.

xo,

Jeanne

PS – I’m going to see if I can convince Michaela to contribute another recipe or two.  She’s INCREDIBLE.

We’re linked up:

Domestic Superhero
This Chick Cooks
The Nourishing Gourmet

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