This recipes starts with the rich dark colors of red and black quinoa and then builds up a salad with similarly hued purple kale and beets. I roasted the kale with garlic and the beets with shallots. The kale served as a crunchy base for the salad, the beets partnered with the quinoa, and the shallots were pureed into a sherry vinegar dressing. - Fairmount_market —Fairmount_market
Test Kitchen Notes
What a stunning, but also interesting, fall and winter salad! First, consider the wonderful variety of textures; roasted kale, which somehow manages to be both crispy and a bit chewy, is topped with nubby quinoa and just-tender beets. The roasted shallot and sherry vinegar dressing, paired with the feta and beets, creates luscious sweet, sour and salty layers. I recommend you check the shallots after 8 or 10 minutes, ours roasted very quickly so do watch carefully, lest they burn. With its deep green leaves, bright red beets and quinoa, and bits of white feta, this would be perfect for a winter holiday lunch or dinner. Simply gorgeous! - AntoniaJames —AntoniaJames
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the beets and cut into approximately 1 inch chunks (about 8 pieces per medium-sized beet). Peel the shallots and cut into similarly sized pieces (about 4 pieces per shallot). Put in a baking pan, drizzle with some olive oil to coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beets are soft.
Meanwhile, cut or rip the kale leaves from their thick stems, and rip into bite sized pieces. Mince the garlic cloves. Place the kale leaves and garlic in a large casserole dish, pour on enough oil to coat, plenty of salt, and pepper to taste, and toss well. Roast the kale leaves in the oven for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they smell toasty and start to brown on the edges.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa. Heat a cooking pot until you can feel the heat radiating from the bottom when you hold your hand at the top of the pan. Add the quinoa and toast for about 5 minutes, shaking the pot frequently, until you can smell the toasting grain. Add 1 1/4 cup water, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and simmer partially covered for about 15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa grains have released their little halos.
When the beets are ready, remove the shallot pieces to a mini or regular sized food processor or blender. Transfer the beets to a bowl and mix with the cooked quinoa. Deglaze the hot pan in which you roasted the beets and shallots with the sherry vinegar and transfer to the processor. Add the water, sugar, and smoked paprika and blend until smooth. Stir into the quinoa and beet mixture.
Assemble the salad. Plate a bed of toasted kale, then spoon on the quinoa and beets, and finally sprinkle over the feta cheese. Serve warm.
I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: fairmountmarket.blogspot.com. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.