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Red Quinoa Salad with Roasted Carrots

This red quinoa salad is loaded with healthy greens, roasted carrots and beets, topped with avocado and a delicious orange-balsamic dressing. Yum!

Red Quinoa with Roasted Carrots and Beets combined with watercress, avocado and a flavourful orange dressing. Healthy, pretty and delicious.

This is not your simple green side salad. It’s substantial. It has lots of interesting flavors and textures – from earthy (beets) to creamy (avocado) to caramelized (roasted carrots) to zesty (orange) to slightly crunchy (quinoa).  And the orange-balsamic-honey dressing is rich, bright and smooth. So delish.

Roasting the beets and carrots takes a bit of extra time, but it’s worth the effort I think.  There are some perfectly good shortcuts you can take though….

For a full meal, consider serving the red quinoa salad with Vegetable Bean and Barley Soup, Red Lentil Vegetable Soup or Squash, Sweet Potato & Mandarin Soup. Or as a side dish with Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout or Grilled Vietnamese Chicken.

Tailor To Your Taste

  • Any leafy salad greens will do.
  • Roast cubed sweet potato or butternut squash instead of the carrots.
  • Add crumbled goat cheese, toasted nuts or seeds, raisins and/or dried cranberries.
  • Instead of roasting the carrots, try using our Grilled Carrots with Balsamic Glaze in this salad.

Shortcuts

  1. Microwave the beets.  Here’s a microwave beet recipe.   Or even easier, buy cooked beets found packaged in most grocery stores.
  2. Use leftover quinoa or pick it up at a deli counter in your local grocery store.
  3. Use a store-bought dressing for drizzling such as Balsamic, Honey Mustard or Poppy Seed.

Make Ahead Red Quinoa Salad

  • The carrots, beets, quinoa and dressing can all be made earlier in the day or a couple of days ahead. Assemble the salad before serving.

Red quinoa salad with roasted carrots and beets in shallow serving dish

Red quinoa salad with roasted carrots and beets in shallow serving dish
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Red Quinoa Salad with Roasted Carrots Recipe

This red quinoa salad is loaded with super healthy greens, roasted carrots and beets, topped with avocado and a delicious orange-balsamic dressing. Yum!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Vegetarian dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 sides (or 2 mains)
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red quinoa (or multicoloured red, black, white)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 small beets, red or golden (or combination)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 x 4 inch sticks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 large orange (zest plus 1 tablespoon juice for dressing)
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (and pepper to taste)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 4 cup watercress (or 4-6 cups mixed spring salad greens)
  • Optional: crumbled goat cheese, toasted nuts and/or raisins

Orange Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  • MAKE QUINOA: Rinse quinoa in a strainer for several minutes. Place in pot with water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and let cool. You can cool in the fridge if time is short.
  • PREPARE CARROTS AND BEETS: Heat oven to 425F. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and spray well with oil (or use parchment paper).
    BEETS: Scrub the beets under running water to remove dirt and sand. Oil the beets, then wrap tightly in tin foil. Place them on one end of the pan. For a big shortcut, buy roasted beets instead.
    CARROTS: In a medium bowl, mix together oil, honey, nutmeg, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Add carrots and toss. Lay in single layer on the prepared pan.
  • ROAST CARROTS AND BEETS: Roast vegetables for about 20-25 minutes, turning carrots once, until carrots are tender and caramelized. Spoon onto a plate. If beets pierce easily with a knife, they are ready, Otherwise, continue roasting for another 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Over the sink, slide off the skins. Wash your hands right away to avoid stains from the beet juice. Dice into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces.
  • MAKE DRESSING: Combine all dressing ingredients in a small measuring cup and whisk until well blended.
  • ASSEMBLE SALAD: In a large wide-mouthed bowl, toss together watercress and 2 cups of quinoa (save the rest for another use). Distribute roasted carrots and beets and diced avocado evenly. Add goat cheese, raisins and/or nuts if using. Drizzle dressing just before serving over salad.

Notes

Make Ahead: The carrots, beets, quinoa and dressing can all be made earlier in the day or a couple of days ahead. Assemble the salad before serving. 
Shortcuts:
  1. Microwave the beets.  Here’s a microwave beet recipe. Or even easier, buy cooked beets found packaged in most grocery stores.
  2. Use leftover quinoa or pick it up at a deli counter in your local grocery store.
  3. Use a store-bought dressing for drizzling such as Balsamic, Honey Mustard or Poppy Seed.
 
Nutrition value estimates do not include optional cheese, nuts or raisins - and are based on one of six side portions.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Red Quinoa Salad with Roasted Carrots Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 295 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 571mg25%
Potassium 712mg20%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 5935IU119%
Vitamin C 31mg38%
Calcium 74mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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