Though culinarily treated like a grain, quinoa is technically a seed, more closely related to beets than to any grains. Often, foods that are botanically so closely related work well together, and this nutritional powerhouse of a dish is no exception. A sharp mustard vinaigrette compliments the acid-loving beets but is tempered with a scattering of creamy chevre. Served warm, it makes for a satisfying lunch that will neither ruin your New Year’s resolutions nor leave you feeling deprived. This reheats quite well, so you can make a large batch of it and eat off of it through the week.
1 – 1.5 Beets (any variety), greens removed and reserved for another use
1 cup dry quinoa
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic minced
3 tbsp cider vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mustard
Soft goat cheese (chèvre), for serving.
Roast the beets:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse any residual dirt from the beets, then peel over the sink or a trash can. Cut the beets into large bite-sized pieces
and place on a large baking sheet or roasting pan. Drizzle the beets with olive oil, sprinkle with a few pinches of kosher salt, and roast until tender and caramelized, about half an hour. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Cook the quinoa:
1. While the beets are roasting, fill a medium pot with water, add several pinches of salt, and bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook until done. The timing on this will vary depending on your quinoa, but you want to see little curlicues sticking off of them and they should be tender with a bit of oomph to the bite- but not mushy or crunchy. Drain the quinoa using a fine-mesh sieve.
2. In a large skillet, heat the butter, oil, and garlic over medium-low heat until the garlic is fragrant and golden. Turn the heat to medium high, then add the quinoa and stir. Let the quinoa at the bottom of the pan get a bit toasted, then stir and repeat a couple of times. Add the beets to the pan, stir, and then set aside, off heat.
Make the dressing:
1. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and mustard until homogenous. Set aside.
Assemble the salad:
1. Divide the quinoa and beets among serving dishes. Whisk the dressing again and then drizzle sparingly over the salad. Top with crumbled chèvre and serve immediately.