Roasted Beet, Quinoa, and Arugula Salad

Quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who saw its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. It should be a staple in kitchens today with its amino acid-rich (protein) seed that makes for a complete protein as it includes all nine essential amino acids. This is a good choice for vegetarians concerned about adequate protein intake. It is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.  It exudes a yummy nutty flavor when cooked and has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture.

In addition to protein, quinoa has a number of other health-building nutrients. It is a very good source of magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus. This “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. From an Ayurvedic perspective, quinoa is sweet, astringent, it is cooling and grounding. It’s a balancing tri-doshic grain.

Roasted Beet, Quinoa, and Arugula Salad

Ingredients

2-4  small beets or 2 large beets; yellow or red, scrubbed and trimmed
2 Tbsp ghee
Sea salt
1 cup quinoa soaked overnight and/or sprouted
1 vegetable bouillon
feta goat crumbles (optional, can omit if you’re vegan)
dry roasted pumpkin seeds
your favorite herbal dressing

Directions

To roast beets, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place each beet in a piece of foil, rub them down with 1 tablespoon of ghee and a dash of salt.

Place them in a glass baking dish with one inch of water, place on the oven rack, and roast the beets for about 1 hour, or until they are just tender. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, to cook the quinoa, heat the remaining tablespoon of ghee in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the quinoa is toasted.

Add 1 cup of water and a veggie bouillon, bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid and is tender.

Turn off the heat, uncover the pan and cool completely.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub off the skin with either your fingers or a potato peeler. Cut each beet into 6 wedges and place in a medium bowl.

Mound the quinoa on a platter. Top with the arugula and then the beets. Scatter the dry roasted pumpkin seeds over the salad and crumble the goat cheese, if using over the top. Drizzle with your favorite herbed dressing and serve immediately.

*Make ahead – the beets and quinoa can be cooked up to 1 day ahead, covered separately, and refrigerated. When I eat this as a leftover, I personally prefer to re-heat the beets and quinoa.

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