how things come together March 9, 2011

This recipe rolled right off my fingers. Literally. A fellow blogger had hit me up asking for a favorite beet salad recipe. Initially, I had pointed him to some beet salad recipes that I’ve bookmarked or have in my stand-by recipe arsenal. No sooner had I forwarded him the links did I mention that I really love herbs with beets. Tarragon and beets are a combination I just love. Maybe a little vinaigrette. Don’t forget the cheese, though. Goat cheese – a given. Feta, maybe. No waitricotta salata. Nice texture, a little tang and salt but not overwhelming. Yes, that’s the way to go. We parted way and I’m guessing he went on to make his beet salad for dinner that night. On the other hand, this recipe rattled around in my head for a good week or so before it came together on a plate.

In my continued efforts to use up ingredients around the house, I turned to quinoa to bulk this salad up. Make it a little more filling and amp up the nutritional value. I’ve met more than one person who says they just don’t quite “get” quinoa yet – in this application, it adds more substance…a little texture…and a nuttiness that goes with the sweetness and earthiness of the beets. A handful of roasted pepitas (I’m conquering the pantry 1/4 cup at a time!) was the missing link – crunch and a bit of salt that keeps from having to add a lot of salt in the seasoning process. Served slightly cool or room temperature but not cold, this is easily a main course vegetarian meal but would make an awesome side dish for some roasted meats.

Golden Beet and Quinoa Salad – serves 4 as a hearty side dish/salad course

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil – divided into 1 tbsp. + 2 tbsp. portions
  • 2 large beets, washed and root ends trimmed – mine were about baseball sized so shoot for roughly 1 1/2- 2 pounds total
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or lightly flavored vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 ounces ricotta salata cheese – shaved on a grater or crumbled
  • 1/4 cup roasted pepitas – you could substitute pine nuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds here, as well
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

– For the beets: Preheat the oven to 375. In a foil pouch (or in a baking dish you cover with foil – your choice), drizzle 1 tbsp. of olive oil over the beets. Wrap tightly with the foil and bake in the preheated oven until they’re tender – pierce with the end of a sharp knife to test – which should take about 60 minutes. This is dependent on the size of your beets. Once tender, remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel & discard the skins and dice into 1/2″ – 1″ squares.

– While the beets are roasting, you can cook the quinoa. Bring 1 cup water or vegetable stock up to a boil. Add the quinoa, boil for 1-2 minutes, then turn heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered until ready to use.

– To assemble the salad: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar and the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the beets and toss to coat. Next, add the chopped tarragon and the quinoa. Mix together and add the pepitas & ricotta salata. Mix gently to combine. Taste for salt level then season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve at room temperature. This will keep for a day or so but I advise bringing it up closer to room temperature from the fridge before serving.



Brian @ A Thought For Food Mar 9, 2011 11:03 am

I’m a huge advocate for quinoa. Always have some around the house and it makes it into at least two dishes each week. And now I have this wonderful salad (which combines two of my favorite ingredients) to add to my repertoire.

dayle Mar 9, 2011 07:03 pm

i enjoyed quinoa with my spinach & chickpea curry last night! yum. dayle

sarah @ two tarts Mar 9, 2011 10:03 pm

This recipes reminds me of my friend’s nephew, who said he would eat vegetables when he turned 6. Then when he turned 6 he said, “yes I will eat vegetables…but the FIRST vegetable I eat must be a golden beet!!” LOL…how did he even know about golden beets?! I need to get his mom this recipe!! :)

Kelly @ Evil Shenanigans Mar 10, 2011 11:03 am

Quinoa is quickly becoming a favorite at our house. Adding those beautiful beets just made my gluttonous heart go pitter-pat!

Dina Avila Mar 10, 2011 12:03 pm

This salad is gorgeous! It makes me feel like spring has already arrived :)

Maria Speck Mar 10, 2011 12:03 pm

Just posted your recipe to my Facebook page. Looks beautiful and delicious! Quinoa and beets are such a great natural pairing. For my upcoming whole grain cookbook, I went down the red color path: I combined purple quinoa with red beets and Middle Eastern flavors for a stunning crimson-colored side.

carolyn Mar 10, 2011 06:03 pm

my this sounds divine. i’m such a sucker for beets. one of my top five veg, for sure.

Sanjeeta kk Mar 11, 2011 03:03 am

Barring a few ingredients, I think I can make this recipe a staple on my dinning table :) Love Quinoa and this looks quite refreshing. Came here from Twitter.

Sally Pasley Vargas Mar 11, 2011 08:03 am

Hard to sell quinoa around my house, but they’re beet lovers (go figure). This is going on my list for the weekend, time for a try, try again moment. I like the ricotta salata touch, nice change from the standard goat cheese approach. Thanks.

janet Mar 11, 2011 09:03 pm

I prefer my salads to be more veggie-based then grain-based (despite loving quinoa) – so I think this looks perfect! Yum!

Sonia Mar 12, 2011 07:03 am

What a beautiful salad! I just love quinoa and this looks like a wonderful combination. I only wish I could find golden beets around here. But I have never seen any other colour than the standard purple. That would sure change the way the salad looks, but I don’t believe the taste would be that different, now, would it? I definitely will have to give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration!

flem (girl) Mar 15, 2011 01:03 pm

This salad looks very satisfying for me! I will have to try this one for certain.

Emm Mar 18, 2011 08:03 am

I live off quinoa, for breakfast, lunch and dinner :-)
This looks beautiful, and I love how the beets take centre stage over the quinoa. So many times I see it the other way around; a huge bowlful of quinoa with a teeny amount of flavouring added as an after thought. Thanks for sharing.

sara Apr 6, 2011 11:04 pm

yes yes to golden beets. Love them. I am a gigantic fan of simple salads like this that can be kept in the fridge to nibble through the week. Pretty as usual, my friend :)

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Computer Forensic Jan 16, 2012 06:01 am

This salad looks very satisfying for me! I will have to try this one for certain.Thanks for the inspiration!

Sheila the furniture women Feb 14, 2012 10:02 pm

Very impressive salad it is nutritious and well done prepare. I know my children like this menu. I grabbed a copy this article for the best salad that i can prepare.

Bauholz Mar 15, 2012 06:03 am

I am surely gonna prepare Quinoa Salad for my daughter this weekend. She will love it :)

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I am surely going to prepare this recipe today. Its yummmmmmmy!

Wägesystem Mar 19, 2012 01:03 am

Interesting title how things come together. Thanks for making available the recipe. It will be a hit food for our family. I will cook quinoa as soon as possible for my family.

Elise Apr 28, 2012 01:04 pm

I made this for lunch and it was spectacular! Thanks for the great recipe.

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spratly Oct 4, 2012 08:10 am

This salad looks very delicious! I will have to try this one for certain. it makes me hungry

Gino Oct 9, 2012 08:10 am

This salad looks very satisfying for me! I will have to try this one for certain.

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it makes me hungry, yummyyyy….. :)

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