As we enter the season of picnics, this salad is a great one to share with a crowd as it is delicious and holds well in warm weather. It also has the benefit of being super healthy and derives a natural sweetness from the roasted shallots and golden beets. I read about a great technique from Bon Appetit about preparing quinoa which ensures that it will be fluffy and light rather than mushy in its texture. It involves boiling your quinoa, as you would a pasta and then draining it and placing it back in the pot with a paper towel and covering it for a bit to absorb the excess moisture. I added lots of fresh dill and chives to my quinoa, but you could add basil and parsley or whatever herbs you prefer. This quinoa would be great sprinkled in salad or as a side to grilled fish or chicken.
Serves 6-8 as side dish
- 1 1/2 cups tricolor or regular quinoa
- 3 golden beets
- 15 small shallots, peeled and halved
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 small bunch dill, chopped
- 1 small bunch chives
- lemon juice from 1-2 lemons
- 1/4 cup olive oil or so , divided
- kosher salt and pepper
for roasted shallots and beets: Preheat oven to 350. Place prepared shallots in a baking sheet and toss with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally until edges are golden and shallots are tender. Remove from oven and set aside. Wrap beets in foil and place in the oven for about 45 minutes until fork tender. Remove from oven, and once cool enough to handle, peel skin from beets and dice into 1/2 inch dice.
for quinoa: While beets and shallots are roasting, prepare quinoa. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add salt. Once water is boiling, add quinoa and boil for about 12 minutes, uncovered as you would a pasta. Using a fine mesh sieve, drain quinoa and discard cooking water. Place quinoa back in the pan and cover with a paper towel and place a lid on the pan. Allow quinoa to rest for an additional 10 minutes or so allowing any excess moisture to be absorbed.
assemble salad: In a large bowl, toss quinoa, roasted vegetables, chickpeas and herbs together. Add lemon juice and remaining olive oil and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste and enjoy!