Unless you’re careful, December can turn into a month of eating terribly – too many ‘treats’ and not enough of the good stuff. Here’s a salad to redress the balance (plus it looks appropriately festive).
RED QUINOA, BEETROOT AND BEAN SALAD
Did you know that quinoa (pronounced keen-WAH) is grown in New Zealand? For this recipe I’ve used wholegrain red quinoa, grown in the Rangitikei region by Kiwi Quinoa.* It’s got all the same nutritional benefits of ‘ordinary’ quinoa, which is high in protein and fibre, with a bolder flavour and a subtle crunchiness. Plus, of course, the colour is fabulous. Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal (it’s actually a seed, rather than a grain) so it’s fine for your gluten-free friends to eat.
This salad is also great for vegetarians, who can be a bit left out at this time of year. If beetroot in a tin gives you the horrors, use grated fresh beetroot instead. A creamy element, like avocado or feta, is another good addition.
Serves 4 generously.
For the salad:
- ⅔ cup red quinoa
- 1 ⅓ cups water
- 1 x 450g tin baby beetroot, drained and quartered
- 1 x 400g red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large red capsicum, diced
- A generous handful of fresh parsley and mint, finely sliced
For the dressing:
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed to a paste with ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- ½ tsp honey or brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
Put the quinoa and water in a pot set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes, until the water has absorbed and you can see the quinoa ‘tails’. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool for five minutes.
Make the dressing: put the garlic, mustard, honey and vinegar in a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake until well mixed. Add the oil and whisk or shake again until emulsified. Taste for seasoning and sharpness – add more salt, oil or vinegar as required.
Stir the baby beetroot, kidney beans and capsicum into the quinoa. Pour over half the dressing and toss gently. Add the herbs and toss again. Pile onto a serving platter and drizzle over the rest of the dressing.
Any leftovers can be stored in a lidded container in the fridge for up to three days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
* This is not an ad – I bought the quinoa (and everything else) used in this recipe.