This red quinoa salad is loaded with super healthy greens, roasted carrots and beets, topped with avocado and a delicious orange-balsamic-honey dressing. A visually beautiful side dish or meal.
I love this red quinoa salad. I serve it as a side dish or add some soup and bread to make it a full meal.
This is not your simple green side salad. It’s substantial. It’s got 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. Truly a medley of deliciousness.
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 this 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.
- Microwave the beets. Here’s a microwave beet recipe. Or even easier, buy cooked beets found packaged in most grocery stores.
- Use leftover quinoa or pick it up at a deli counter in your local grocery store.
- 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 Recipe
- 1 cup red quinoa (or multicoloured red, black, white)
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 small beets, red or golden (or combination)
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 x 4 inch sticks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 large orange (zest plus 1 tablespoon juice for dressing)
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp 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
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 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. 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.
Other salads you might like: