I like when a whole meal is a salad... something substantial where I'm not still hungry afterwards and dive in to the bag of chips (it happens...). So when I saw the original recipe from Bakeaholic Mama that inspired this meal I felt it wouldn't have the oompf that would fulfill that dinner salad need... unless I ate a lot more of it than I really should (which also happens...). So with a few add-ins and a couple tweaks of my own I created this delicious way to use those beets you've been wondering what to do with (you know who you are ;)).
Garlic Roasted Beets and Quinoa Salad with Harissa Sauce
Beets & Garlic
1 lb beets - I used a rainbow variety that makes the salad less red when it sits waiting for me to eat it for lunch
2 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
2 - 4 garlic cloves peeled and left whole (quantity depends on garlicky preference and size of cloves... I like garlic but the cloves were smallish so went with 4)
~1 tsp sea salt
A few twists of the pepper mill (or about 1/2 tsp)
The Heart of the Salad
2 heaping cups cooked quinoa (When using in savoury dishes cook with half a bouillon cube for extra flavour)
1/4 cup red onion, diced and soaked in cold water until ready to mix in salad (reduces the sharp onion flavour)
4 - 6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup buckwheat, rinsed (I've blogged about this super seed before... get them in to your diet!)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
5 small bocconcini, quartered (used the rest of the Arancini ball recipe)
1 handful of mixed greens per serving
Dressing and Toppings
Additional salt & pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp (plus extra for serving) Balsamic reduction (we use this awesome pre-made variety from Nonna's from BC. So much easier to always have in the pantry)
Harissa Sauce (I make a big batch of my own but base the recipe from this one and will post details in a later post soon) or any variety of your favourite hot sauce.
Roasting the Beets
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut root end off of beets, scrub thoroughly (I'm a fan of leaving on the peel) and cut in into roughly 1" sized cubes.
Place beets and garlic in bowl and toss with oil, salt and pepper.
Wrap in an aluminum foil packet or pour beets in to a baking dish with a lid.
Bake for 15 minutes, turn over foil packet or stir beets in baking dish. Return to oven for at least 10 minutes, checking for fork tenderness and adding time if needed to reach full doneness.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the beets roast...
In a large bowl, mix together all of the heart of the salad ingredients *except for the mixed greens*
Add 1 tbsp. of balsamic reduction and fold through the salad ingredients. Taste for flavour and add more if needed as well as salt and pepper to taste.
Serving this great salad!
Remove the garlic from the roasted beets mixture and chop finely. Mix thoroughly in to salad mixture.
Pour beets in to the salad and gently fold in to salad to avoid turning the whole thing "beet red"... ha! It will taste the same if salad folding gets out of control or you have really red beets.
Place a handful of mixed greens on a plate and spoon a generous portion of the salad on top. Drizzle a bit more balsamic reduction and top with a spoonful of harissa or a bit of your favourite hot sauce.
Eat and be well :)
Now back to you my friendly Experimental Approach readers! Do you like a hearty salad? Plan on trying this or your own version? Let me know in the comments as I would love to hear about your cooking experiments too!