Back again with yet another recipe that was part of today’s meal prep saga: WHOLE-GRAIN QUINOA, BEET & TOASTED WALNUT SALAD IN A LEMON WHITE WINE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE!
Guys, I know, this salad seems super simple but you have no idea how delicious it is! The combination of flavours here is (wal)NUTS (No pun intended!).
Filled with plant-based protein, fibre, good fats, loads of skin health benefits, carotenoids, antioxidants, greens, iron, detoxification benefits, natural sweetness & toasted deliciousness, this salad is bound to wow the entire fam!
It’s great as a main dish for lunch or as a side dish for dinner with some fresh fish or roasted chicken breast! It’s super filling, satisfying & the ingredients are on point!
The dressing is just made with organic balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, black pepper, Celtic sea salt & garlic powder. It adds just the right amount of tangy, garlicky citrus to counter the natural sweetness of the roasted beets (which BTW, is so great because it means you don’t have to add any sweetener to the dressing!).
BTW, yes, the step where you have to take an extra 5-7 minutes to toast the walnuts is UBER NECESSARY! You have no idea how much it changes the flavour of the salad overall – it adds a special touch that you wouldn’t necessarily get from raw walnuts!
P.S. I like to roast my beets myself, as opposed to purchased them packaged – it’s simple, easy & I can roast them while I multitask & get other stuff done in the Kitch! Before I know it, the timer beeps & they’re ready! (I’ll tell you guys how I roast ’em in the how-to part of this post down below!).
BUT, before we get to that, let’s discuss some of the health benefits of the ingredients in this babe of a salad:
- Beets: Beets are filled with vitamin C & antioxidants (which are both immune-boosting), fiber & essential minerals like potassium (which is crucial for healthy nerve & muscle functions), manganese (important for strong bones, liver, kidney & pancreas health) & they also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods out there (& it’s completely plant-based!). It contains almost 2x as much fibre & most other grains, iron, lysine (important for gut & skin health), magnesium, B2 & manganese!
- Walnuts: Excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory (in the form of ALA, alpha-linolenic acid). They are also rich in antioxidants & a great source of copper, manganese & biotin.
- Green onions: Green onions are immunity-boosting, help regulate blood sugar, are anti-inflammatory, contain phytonutrients that help prevent certain types of cancer & inhibit the growth of a bacteria that attacks the stomach lining & leads to the development of peptic ulcers.
- Cilantro: Cilantro rids the body of heavy metals & detoxifies the blood & liver, fights oxidative damage due to its antioxidant content, helps lower anxiety, improve sleep & lower blood sugar levels. It’s also heart healthy, may help prevent UTIs, helps boost digestive health & may protect against food poisoning (due to its detoxification properties!).
I don’t mean to brag but like, I created a pretty darn healthy salad, if I do say so myself!!!!
Oh & last but not least… this is most probably the prettiest (IN PINK) quinoa salad you ever did see!
My loves, YOU WILL NEED:
FOR THE SALAD:
- 2-3 roasted beets, diced (See instructions below on how I roast mine!)
- Avocado or coconut oil cooking spray for roasting the beets
- 1 cup of whole-grain quinoa (Cooked according to package directions or follow my instructions below for how I get the fluffiest quinoa!)
- 1/3 cup of toasted organic walnuts (TOAST THEM YOURSELF – There really is no need to buy ’em when it takes not even 10 minutes to do it yourself!)
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
FOR THE DRESSING:
- The juice of one lemon
- 2 tbsp. of organic balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. of organic white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- Black pepper & Celtic sea salt to taste
Now, for that HOW-TO:
- Roast your beets! Here’s how I do it:
- Preheat your oven to 400F & wrap the beets in aluminum foil.
- Before closing the oil, spray the beets with some coconut or avocado oil cooking spray.
- Close the foil & place the beets in a deep baking dish.
- Bake them for 45 minutes to an hour at 400F. I usually like to bake mine for around 55 minutes!
- Once the beets are roasted, remove them from the oven & let them cool off before even attempting to peel them.
- Once cooled, peel the beets & either slice them or keep ’em whole & store in an airtight container & refrigerate!
- Prepare your quinoa!
- TO GET IT FLUFFY AF: Add 1 cup of quinoa to a skillet with 1.5 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat to a simmer (a 2-ish), cover & let the quinoa simmer for anywhere between 15 & 17 minutes, until the water is fully absorbed & the quinoa is cooked through.
- While the quinoa is boiling, toast your walnuts!
- Simply add the walnuts to a small skillet & heat over low-medium heat for anywhere between 5-7 minutes, based on how toasty you want them!
- Once your quinoa is ready, let it sit & cool off before you add it to the rest of the ingredients or else… SOGGY VEGGIES!
- Once cooled, add the quinoa & the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl!
- Season the salad directly in the same bowl (SEE HOW EASY I MAKE YOUR LIFE) & toss with a wooden spoon or spatula to coat all the deliciousness in the seasonings!
- Taste & adjust seasoning, if necessary!
- Store in an airtight container & refrigerate!