Warm Roasted Beet & Plum Salad
Believe it or not, I am generally not a big fan of salads. (Many people assume that’s about all vegetarians eat. Well, this site is testament to the fact that the options for non-meat eaters are many!) A bowl of lettuce with a few chopped veggies on top leaves me cold. And leaves me hungry again in an hour or two.
That said, I LOVE warm salads, creative ones, with unique ingredients that are satisfying and filling. These are the only types of salads I enjoy, and are the only type I make.
Warm salads are also perfect during the winter months. This dish, in particular, is a great option for parties and holiday feasts. It's beautiful and delicious, and everyone can eat it since it's vegan, gluten-free, and grain-free. (Quinoa is more closely related to chard than any grain.)
This roasted beet and plum salad with red quinoa is one of my absolute favorites. Here in Argentina we are now into plum season. And the beets at the ‘mercado’ are gorgeous right now as well. So, this dish was dinner for two last night. (And this morning at 10am I’m still satisfied.)
I recently came across some red quinoa at the market. In my opinion, it has a more hearty feel and substantial taste that the standard quinoa. Though feel free to use regular quinoa if you can’t find red kind where you are. (Black could be good here too!)
As always, I made a full pot of the quinoa, so now I have leftovers in the fridge for lunch bowls or to use in another dinner this week.
I am loathe to give specific measurements for salads. They are so easy to scale up or down. However, I did include the amounts I used so you can get an idea of proportions. You’re looking for approximately equal amounts of beets to plums, or slightly more beets than plums. (Don’t forget that the beets get quite a bit smaller as they roast.) Feel free to make more for a large group, or to have leftovers which keep well in the fridge.
If you enjoy goat cheese (the creamy chevre kind), it also goes very well here.
Recipe for Roasted Beet and Plum Salad with Red Quinoa
This made two large bowls as a complete dinner for me and my husband.
6 large beets
1 large red onion
10 small red plums
Cooked red quinoa
Butter lettuce or baby spinach
Fresh basil (I used about 10 leaves of green and purple combined, cut into fine slivers)
Salt and pepper
Fresh lemon juice
Balsamic vinegar glaze (the very thick reduction kind, or another very concentrated balsamic, optional)
Heat oven to 350F (175C).
Roughly chop the red onion. Peel beets and cut into small cubes. (Here I literally peel them whole in the sink and then cut off the ends. See photo below.)
Toss the onion and beets in the pan with olive oil, salt and pepper to evenly coat. Roast in a single layer uncovered for 45-55 minutes until very tender. Stir once or twice to ensure even cooking.
Cook the quinoa on the stovetop and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Cut up the plum flesh into small bites and add to the roasting beet and onion mixture about 10 minutes before it is done cooking. (After 40-45 minutes or so. The beets should be mostly tender at this point, but ever so slightly undercooked.)
When the beets are tender and the plums are hot but not yet mushy, remove from oven and let cool to warm.
Line two bowls with butter lettuce leaves or fresh baby spinach. Make a bed of the red quinoa in the greens. Top with the warm roasted beets, onion, and plums.
Top each bowl with slivers of fresh basil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze (optional, but a delicious touch).
Dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
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