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Roasted Beet & Quinoa Salad with Za’atar Vinaigrette

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Have you ever been stumped by beets in the kitchen? We’ve got just the recipe for you from our friend Michelle of Farm Belly. This hearty salad takes the winter staples of beets and kale and jazzes them up with a generous dusting of fresh mint and a zippy citrus-za’atar vinaigrette.

Photo and recipe by Michelle of Farm Belly

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 3 large (or 4 small) beets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 c quinoa
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped (or use beet tops, if available)
  • 1/2 c toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh mint

For the Citrus-Za’atar Vinaigrette

  • Juice from 1 orange (3-4 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil*
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp za’atar (buy local if you can, here’s an online source)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. 
  2. Wrap the beets individually in foil and drizzle each beet with a teaspoon of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. 
  3. Roast for 45-50 minutes until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife. When cool, remove the skin, chop into bite-sized pieces, and set aside.
  4. While the beets are roasting, cook the quinoa. Bring 1.5 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to a boil in a small or medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup uncooked quinoa, lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. 
  5. After 15 minutes, add the chopped kale (or beet tops, if available) to the top of the quinoa, then re-cover the saucepan and let the greens steam for 5-10 minutes. When done, fluff the quinoa and greens lightly together with a fork.
  6. While the quinoa and kale are cooking, make the citrus-za’atar vinaigrette: Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Combine the quinoa/kale mixture, roasted beets, chopped walnuts, and chopped fresh mint together in your salad bowl. 
  8. Drizzle on the citrus-za’atar vinaigrette and stir everything gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • If you’re not familiar with za’atar (pronounced ZAH-tar), it is a supremely aromatic eastern Mediterranean spice blend typically consisting of toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme, oregano, sumac, and salt. You can find it in most major supermarkets, regional speciality markets, and online. 
  • Za’atar is great for spicing up a vinaigrette, but it’s also fabulous for seasoning meat, fish, and vegetables. You can sprinkle it on top of just about anything – hummus, baba ganoush, yogurt, bagels, chickpeas, popcorn, etc. 
  • On a root-to-stem cooking note: if you’re making this recipe and have beets with tops, you can (and should!) use the beet greens instead of kale in this recipe.

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