Nutrition,  Recipes

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

I don’t know how the weather is in your area but around here in Charlotte, NC it officially feels like fall!  This week it’s been in the 40s at night with the high during the day in the 60s.  When the cool air hits all I want to do is pad my body with warmth, from cozy sweaters to food!  But sometimes the food I crave is not always the healthiest.  What is it about the weather getting cooler and it makes people want heavy carbs, stick to the bones food and sweets.  It’s like preparing for hibernation.  Let’s just say a cold salad is not going to cut it.  When the weather starts to get cooler I need hearty, filling salads to satisfy my body so that I’m not reaching for the carb laden foods.

Now this roasted vegetable quinoa salad isn’t your typical salad.   This salad is wholesome, filling, favorable and most importantly warming.  It’s pretty straightforward in it’s preparation.  Most of the work is cleaning, chopping and preparing the vegetables.  But put some music on and you’ll be done this chore in no time.  And afterwards you’ll be sitting down eating an amazing,warm salad, watching one of your favorite shows, feeling proud of yourself that you picked this healthy meal to make and that you were able to leave the pizza alone for at least a day.

What Makes A Good Salad.

The best thing about a salad are the various components that make up a salad.  You have the many flavors coming together of the vegetables and/or fruits, sometimes there’s grains, meats or legumes added to the salad.   Then there are different blends of flavors like salty, sweet, bitter and sour.  All these different elements combined together is what makes a salad so delicious.  There’s also the toppings like avocado, nuts, seeds, dried fruit or cheese that can make a salad just pop.

In this salad there’s different flavors coming through.  There’s sweetness from the beets and leeks, bitterness from the dandelion greens as well as a mix of salt and other flavors throughout.  The best thing about this salad is you can eat it warm or cold depending on your mood.

How To Make This Salad.

What you will need to make this salad are:

Butternut Squash– You can buy prepared butternut squash. However because it’s fall, butternut squash is really cheap right now.   The trick is to get a squash with a long neck.  That way it’s easier to peel and chop and you don’t have to worry about the seeds.

Quinoa– Organic quinoa is the way to go.  You can use any color you like.  I decided to use red.  The most important thing is making sure the quinoa is rinsed off before cooking.

Leek– One leek is all you need.   Leeks can be very dirty so wash thoroughly.  Here’s a great video on how to clean leeks right here.

Yukon Potato– I used one medium to large Yukon potato but you can also use a red potato.  I like the deep flavor of the Yukon so that’s what I used.

Beet– One red beet.  A golden beet can be substituted but I like the earthiness of the red beet in this salad.  The beet was not roasted with the other veggies.  Because red beets can be messy to work with, I cook the beet whole.  I form a little packet out of foil or parchment paper.  After the beet is poked with a knife a few times for air ventilation it’s placed in the packet and sealed.  Then it’s put in a 400 degree oven for roughly 35 minutes. This forms a steaming process making the beet easy to peel and cut.  You know the beet is ready when you can insert a knife easily into the beet.

Dandelion Greens– One bunch of dandelion greens were not only used for the nutritious value but they were used for the delicious slight bitterness it brought to the salad.  In the recipe below a little bit of maple syrup was used to tone down the bitterness.  If you don’t care for dandelion greens, you can substitute this green with spinach, chard or kale.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad Variations.

Add Cheese– This salad would taste amazing with a little feta cheese or goat cheese sprinkled on top.

Mix In Nuts or Seeds– Adding some almond slivers, walnut pieces or sunflower seeds would bring a nice crunchy element to the salad.

Add Dried Fruit– Tossing some dried currants or dried cranberries would add another level of sweetness.

Make A Dressing– Creating a dressing using Dijon mustard, a little honey and a little bit of filtered water would add a delicious topping to the salad.

Mix Up The Veggies– Instead of potatoes, use sweet potatoes.  Turnips can be used.  Roasted broccoli, carrots etc…

Add Sides–  Avocado, cucumber or sauerkraut.

Top With Fresh Herbs– Fresh parsley sprinkled on top would be a nice fresh element.

A Squeeze of Lemon– A squeeze of lemon will add a nice brightness to the salad.

 

This salad will last for several days in the refrigerator and gets better each day.  It makes for a great meal prep lunch during the week.  It makes an even greater dinner paired with a nice warm soup.  With the holidays coming up, you can even prepare this salad ahead of time and add it to your holiday table. 🙂

 

The Recipe.

 

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

 

AuthorDesireeCategory, , DifficultyIntermediate

This salad is warming, hearty and nutritious! It makes a great main meal or as a side to go with soup or any protein. It takes a little time to prep but the results are well worth it! Serves 6 to 8.

Prep Time30 minsCook Time40 minsTotal Time1 hr 10 mins

Quinoa
 1 cup red or white organic quinoa
 1 tsp olive oil
 ½ cup chopped red onion
 2 tbsp chopped shallot
 1 tsp sea salt
 1 ½ tsp nettle leaf
 ½ tsp oregano leaf
 1 ¾ cups filtered water
Roasted Vegetables
 1 chopped yukon potato (about 1 1/2 cup)
 1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash
 1 chopped leek (about 1 cup)
 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 tsp sea salt
 paprika
 ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Roasted Beet
 1 beet
 drizzle of olive oil
Quick Braised Dandelion Greens
 1 chopped bunch of dandelion greens (about 5 cups)
 drizzle of olive oil
 1 tsp nettle leaf
 1 tsp sea salt
 2 tsp maple syrup
 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Making the Quinoa
1

Wash the quinoa thoroughly and strain.

2

In a medium size pot on medium to high heat, place a teaspoon of olive oil in the pot. Add the red onion, shallots, sea salt, oregano and nettle leaf. Sauté till onions are translucent.

3

Add the filtered water and washed quinoa to the pot. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer. Place the pot lid on top and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

4

After 20 minutes turn off the heat and take the pot off the burner. Keep the lid on and let the quinoa finish cooking. After 15 minutes fluff the quinoa and place to the side.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Roasted Vegetables
5

While the quinoa is cooking, you can clean and roast your veggies. Try to chop all your veggies in uniform shapes so they can cook evenly. Chop the leek, potato and butternut squash. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables, sprinkle paprika, sea salt and pepper over the vegetables and mix together.

6

Bake in a 400 degree oven. After 20 minutes, rotate the pan and mix the vegetables around so they cook and brown evenly. Bake until vegetables are light brown and toasted. Take out the oven and placed the roasted vegetables to the side.

7

Roasting The Beet
8

To make the roasted beet, pierce the beet a few times with a knife and lightly coat the beet with olive oil. Make a packet with parchment paper or foil and place the beet inside. The packet will act like a steamer to cook the beet.

The beet can actually be cooked in the same oven with the other roasted vegetables. The packet can be put on the second rack or along side the pan with the roasted vegetables.

*I used my toaster oven.

9

Once a knife can be easily inserted into the beet the beet is finished cooking. After the beet cools a little bit, peel it and cube the beet. Place the beet to the side.

Making the Quick Braised Dandelion Greens
10

Clean and chop up a bunch of dandelion greens. In a pot on medium to high heat, add the greens, water, salt, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and nettle leaf. Once the greens start to boil turn the heat down so they can simmer for roughly 10 minutes. Take the greens off the heat and sit to the side.

*You want the greens to be soft but still maintain their green color, so not much cooking is needed.

Time to Mix All the Salad Components Together.
11

Take a glass bowl and first place the quinoa mixture inside, then place the roasted vegetables and beets. Last but not least after the greens are cool, take the dandelion leaves and squeeze the moisture out of the greens with your hands and place the greens on top. Mix the salad together

12

The roasted vegetable quinoa salad is ready to serve!

The salad can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. It can be eaten warm or cold.

13

I like to add slices of avocado to the salad. It adds a great creaminess and richness to the salad.

Other additions which can be added are:

Walnuts, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds for a crunch.
A little bit of feta or goat cheese. (Yum!)
Sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley.

Ingredients

Quinoa
 1 cup red or white organic quinoa
 1 tsp olive oil
 ½ cup chopped red onion
 2 tbsp chopped shallot
 1 tsp sea salt
 1 ½ tsp nettle leaf
 ½ tsp oregano leaf
 1 ¾ cups filtered water
Roasted Vegetables
 1 chopped yukon potato (about 1 1/2 cup)
 1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash
 1 chopped leek (about 1 cup)
 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 tsp sea salt
 paprika
 ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Roasted Beet
 1 beet
 drizzle of olive oil
Quick Braised Dandelion Greens
 1 chopped bunch of dandelion greens (about 5 cups)
 drizzle of olive oil
 1 tsp nettle leaf
 1 tsp sea salt
 2 tsp maple syrup
 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions

Making the Quinoa
1

Wash the quinoa thoroughly and strain.

2

In a medium size pot on medium to high heat, place a teaspoon of olive oil in the pot. Add the red onion, shallots, sea salt, oregano and nettle leaf. Sauté till onions are translucent.

3

Add the filtered water and washed quinoa to the pot. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer. Place the pot lid on top and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

4

After 20 minutes turn off the heat and take the pot off the burner. Keep the lid on and let the quinoa finish cooking. After 15 minutes fluff the quinoa and place to the side.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Roasted Vegetables
5

While the quinoa is cooking, you can clean and roast your veggies. Try to chop all your veggies in uniform shapes so they can cook evenly. Chop the leek, potato and butternut squash. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables, sprinkle paprika, sea salt and pepper over the vegetables and mix together.

6

Bake in a 400 degree oven. After 20 minutes, rotate the pan and mix the vegetables around so they cook and brown evenly. Bake until vegetables are light brown and toasted. Take out the oven and placed the roasted vegetables to the side.

7

Roasting The Beet
8

To make the roasted beet, pierce the beet a few times with a knife and lightly coat the beet with olive oil. Make a packet with parchment paper or foil and place the beet inside. The packet will act like a steamer to cook the beet.

The beet can actually be cooked in the same oven with the other roasted vegetables. The packet can be put on the second rack or along side the pan with the roasted vegetables.

*I used my toaster oven.

9

Once a knife can be easily inserted into the beet the beet is finished cooking. After the beet cools a little bit, peel it and cube the beet. Place the beet to the side.

Making the Quick Braised Dandelion Greens
10

Clean and chop up a bunch of dandelion greens. In a pot on medium to high heat, add the greens, water, salt, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and nettle leaf. Once the greens start to boil turn the heat down so they can simmer for roughly 10 minutes. Take the greens off the heat and sit to the side.

*You want the greens to be soft but still maintain their green color, so not much cooking is needed.

Time to Mix All the Salad Components Together.
11

Take a glass bowl and first place the quinoa mixture inside, then place the roasted vegetables and beets. Last but not least after the greens are cool, take the dandelion leaves and squeeze the moisture out of the greens with your hands and place the greens on top. Mix the salad together

12

The roasted vegetable quinoa salad is ready to serve!

The salad can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. It can be eaten warm or cold.

13

I like to add slices of avocado to the salad. It adds a great creaminess and richness to the salad.

Other additions which can be added are:

Walnuts, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds for a crunch.
A little bit of feta or goat cheese. (Yum!)
Sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

 

 

 

 

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