Long time, no update, eh? You should have seen that one coming — when the fam’s in town, I have little downtime. I hardly had time to sleep these past four days, let alone
loaf on the intertron update my blogz. (In fact, the only time I really rested this week was on Saturday afternoon when, lying on the living room floor with a glass of wine, I watched the basketball game with one eye and kept the other eye closed, miming sleep.) It’s all good, though: I rarely see my family, and sleep is for dead people.
So yeah: my life’s been busy. Whose hasn’t? It’s during weeks like last week that I’m the most grateful for simple, cook-ahead meals a la this Quinoa and Golden Beet Salad, adapted from a recipe in Fitness Magazine. This salad, in addition to meeting my requirements for workweek lunches*, is pretty and unexpected. Like the best of us, I tend to fall into lunch ruts; when I come upon a new favorite, I am tickled pink.
As is usually the case, I made hella substitutions. Instead of using six small beets, I used three large ones. I omitted garlic (entirely by mistake) and pine nuts, but added coarsely chopped pecans and golden raisins. Oh, yeah: I also used crumbled goat cheese instead of ricotta. For research’s sake, I should prepare the recipe as it’s written, but my version was so good that maybe I just won’t. You know how it is — stubbornness prevails over accuracy.
Even if you do follow the recipe step-by-step, I suggest adding golden raisins — their sweetness cuts the bitterness of the arugula, plus golden raisins are just awesome.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe:
Quinoa and Beet Salad
- 6 small golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar plus additional to taste
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus pinch and additional to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 2 ounces crumbled ricotta salata or feta
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a pot with a steamer basket, steam the beets until tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer beets to a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons each of the oil and vinegar; mix in the garlic, salt and sugar. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in another pot, bring the 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and let cool.
3. In a small skillet over medium heat, warm remaining oil. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Pour pine nuts and oil over quinoa and toss.
4. Remove garlic from beets. Add quinoa and the arugula and cheese to beets and toss well. Season with vinegar, salt and black pepper to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
*Lunches should include at least one serving of veggies, if not more, and must have at least 11 grams of protein. It’s also a plus if the lunch isn’t ueberperishable, but this isn’t a dealbreaker.