Quinoa has been all the rage for a few years because of the fact that it’s a whole grain and higher in protein than brown rice or whole grain pasta. Quinoa comes in a few varieties; red, white and brown. The flavors are similar in nature, but the textures tend to be a little more firm the darker the grain. My favorite is white quinoa because it takes on the flavors of anything you add to it – like vinaigrette, herbs and spices.
This recipe is so simple to prepare and you can serve it as a main course because it is very satisfying. I think the hint of cumin gives it a smoky flavor that pairs nicely with the roasted carrots and serving it on a bed of greens, just adds to the vibrant colors of the dish.
9 rainbow carrots, sliced in half
1/2 cup white quinoa
1 1/2 cups arugula
1 1/2 cups spinach
1/4 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, or champagne vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
(Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash, peel and slice the carrots in half and then in half again. Place the carrots on a sheet pan and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven 25-35 minutes or until the edges are brown and the carrots are fork tender.
2. Remove the carrots from the oven and let cool, while you prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. Let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. except for the olive oil. While whisking, drizzle the olive oil into the vinaigrette, it will emulsify or thicken slightly.
4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted carrots and the quinoa. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the carrot mixture and toss to combine.
5. Place your greens on a large serving platter or individual serving dishes and spoon the Roasted Carrot & Quinoa Salad on top.
6. In a dry skillet, toast the sunflower seeds for 3 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Toss a few on the top of the salad – they add great crunch!
7. Serve the salad immediately or store in the refrigerator up to 2 hours. Enjoy!