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Red quinoa salad with roasted carrots and beets in shallow serving dish
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4.92 from 12 votes

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 (change as needed): 6 sides (or 2 mains)
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 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

Orange Dressing

  • 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

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.
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