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!

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.

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

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

quinoa salad with roasted carrots on plate
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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 ¾ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 small beets, red or golden (or combination)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½ x 4 inch sticks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 large orange (zest plus 1 tablespoon juice for dressing)
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ 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
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ 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 ¼-1/2 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

Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 712mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 5935IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 2mg
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