I am always searching for ways to get my kids to eat more vegetables. Beets are a good option because they are naturally sweet and they are an enticing magenta color. Add to that the health benefits of beets: they are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and betaine, an antiinflammatory nutrient that helps protect cells from environmental stress. And when I mention to my kids that beets are a source of sugar, they hop on board. You can make this salad dairy free by eliminating the cheese or adding crumbled tofu in its place.
- 1.5 cups Quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups Water
- 3 Beets, roasted and diced into ½ inch cubes
- 1 Avocado, diced into ½ inch cubes, drizzled with lemon
- 3 Small Persian Cucumbers, diced into ½ inch cubes
- 1 brick of Feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 handful of Arugula
- ¼ cup Pine Nuts
- ¼ cup Fresh Mint, chopped
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup Champagne Vinegar (or Trader Joe’s orange muscat champagne vinegar)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Roasting the beets: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim the greens from the beets and save for another use. Lightly scrub the beets clean, pat dry, wrap each beet individually in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes until easily pierced by a fork. Let the beets cool to room temperature, then slip off the beet skins. Cut the beets into ½ inch cubes.
Cooking the quinoa: In a saucepan, combine the quinoa and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until all of the water has been absorbed/evaporated, about 15 min. Uncover and fluff the quinoa with a fork, and transfer to a large salad bowl to cool to room temperature.
Dressing: Combine all ingredients and stir well.
Assembly: Add the diced beets, cucumbers, avocado, feta cheese, arugula, pine nuts, and mint to the cooled quinoa. Toss to combine. Drizzle with the dressing, and toss once more. The quinoa will turn bright hot pink from the freshly roasted beets. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later. My girls loved the color of this salad.