Quinoa Salad with Roasted Red Beets, Oranges and Pomegranate

Serves 8


Beets and Quinoa:

3 medium red beets (about 1 1/4 pounds)

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups quinoa, preferably red, well rinsed and drained (7-8 cups cooked)

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (I used kosher salt)



3 blood oranges (I subsituted Cara Cara oranges - use whatever oranged you can find)

1/2 cup chopped pitted dates, preferably firm Deglet Noor

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or kosher salt)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2/3 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 medium pomegranate)

1/4 cup lightly toasted chopped pistachios for garnish


Prepare the beets:

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Cut the greens off the beets (reserve for another use), leaving about 1 inch of stem. Rinse the beets and pat dry. Place the beets in an 8x8-inch baking dish, adding enough water to reach a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast until the beets are tender (a knife should slide in easily), 45-60 minutes, depending on the size. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. (If you are in a hurry, place the beets in a microwave safe dish, add 1/4 cup water, cover loosely, and microwave on high until they are tender, about 10 minutes, depending on size.)

Prepare the quinoa:

Add the broth, water, quinoa and salt to a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl and spread to cool, about 20 minutes.

Make the salad:

Cut one orange in half crosswise. Peel 1 1/2 oranges, and cut the segments into 1/2-inch pieces; you will need a scant 1 1/2 cups (reserve the rest for another use). Zest the remaining 1 1/2 oranges until you have 1 tablespoon zest, then squeeze them until you have 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons juice.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into 1/2 inch wedges. Using a fork, stir the dates into the bowl with the qunoa, separating any chunks. Stir in the beets.

In a medium bowl, using a fork, combine the orange juice, zest, vinegar, salt and pepper. Gradually beat in the olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified. Stir in the 1/4 cup parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss ot combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Toss once more, then top with the oranges, sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, pistachios and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, and serve.


Maria's recommendations:

  • Use a deep red quinoa for its beautiful hue, but regular quinoa will work, too.
  • The salad can be served on bed of spinach, if you wish.
  • The oranges can be sliced, pith, membranes and all - Maria jokes that she is lazy, but the pith does contain nutrients.

Make ahead tips:

  • The quinoa can be prepared up to 5 days ahead.
  • Beets can be roasted 2 days ahead. Chill separately, covered.
  • The salad (except for the final topping of oranges, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and parsley) can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Chill, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving and top with the remaining ingredients.

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