Quinoa has been super popular over the last few years because 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, but the textures tend to be a little more firm the darker the grain. My favorite is white quinoa because it absorbs other ingredients you add to it – like vinaigrette, herbs and spices.
Roasting carrots makes them sweet and tender, unlike their raw beginnings. I think using a variety of colored veggies makes this Roasted Rainbow Carrot & Quinoa Salad just as pleasing to the eye as the mouth.
As for the dressing, the Cumin Vinaigrette really perks up this dish and creates an overall plate of yum. If you think you are not a carrot lover, think again, it is definitely delish. I like to double the batch and have some for days to come.
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
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash, peel and slice carrots in half and then in half again. Place carrots on a sheet pan and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast in oven 25-35 minutes or until the edges are brown and the carrots are fork tender.
2. Remove carrots from the oven and let cool, while you prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients, except for olive oil. While whisking, drizzle olive oil into vinaigrette, it will emulsify or thicken slightly as you whisk.
4. In a large bowl, combine roasted carrots and quinoa. Drizzle the vinaigrette over carrot mixture and toss to combine.
5. Place 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 sunflower seeds for 3 minutes, or until lightly golden around edges. Toss a few on top of the salad – they add great crunch! Serve salad immediately or store in the refrigerator up to 2 hours. Enjoy!