I tend to be drawn to vegetables and fruits with explosive colours. Red, orange, purple, bright green and yellow. If we look deeper, colours actually represent nutrients and antioxidants. For instance the different berries, purple cabbage and pomegranates. One of those colourful vegetables is beets. Yes, beets! I know, I know…we don’t normally get inspired with beets especially with how they are usually presented out there but trust me, this one is yummy and refreshing. Just ask my husband as I’m usually ask to update his list of favourite meals. This can also be enjoyed in the holidays since it has that festive look. Instead of mixing the greens with the beets, you can also use them as a bed for the red salad when serving.
What’s with beetsyou may ask. Well, they are rich in folate, fiber, vitamin C, manganese and potassium. They are also a tonic for the liver and a blood purifier. The red pigment in beets is called Betanin which is a phytonutrient that provides antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support. However, there is also a small percentage of people that cannot eat beets…read here. But for most of us who can eat them, here is a recipe that we can all enjoy.
Scarlet Salad - Beets, Carrots, Quinoa and Romaine Hearts in Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
3 c. grated red beets (about 4-5 pieces)
1 large carrot, grated
1 cup dry quinoa (light or red)
2 c. water
3 c. shredded Romaine hearts
1/3 c. sulphites-free dried cranberries
1/2 c. sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
3 Tbsp. organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. stone ground brown mustard or Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of black pepper
- Pour 2 cups of water into a small pot and bring to a boil. Wash the quinoa in a wire sieve then stir into the boiling water. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa turns transparent. When cooked, transfer to a bowl to cool.
- While the quinoa is cooking, wash the vegetables. Shred the Romaine hearts and grate the beets and carrots. Use a pair of gloves if grating to prevent your hands form turning red. Better yet, if you happen to have a food processor with those nifty attachments, use it and will even do the job faster for you. Place the grated beets and carrots with the lettuce in a salad or mixing bowl.
- Lightly toast the sunflower seeds in a skillet or toaster oven.
- Mix the cooled quinoa with the beets, carrots, Romaine hearts, cranberries and half of the sunflower seeds.
- In a small jar, place the ingredients for the dressing and with the lid secure, shake well to incorporate. Pour the dressing into the beet mixture and toss well. Top it with the rest of the sunflower seeds. Enjoy!