Quinoa and Beet Salad

Before my husband and I started dating I considered myself a vegetarian. I’ve since started eating more meat and I’ve helped him embrace plant-based meals. I’m still not the biggest fan of red meat and I’ve struggled to learn how to cook anything aside from chicken and venison. This means I tend to fall back on my vegetarian habits when doing my meal prepping. This salad is easy, healthy and so yummy. Since it’s full of protein and vitamins it makes a great meal on its own or a fantastic side dish.

The first time I made quinoa for my husband I’m sure he thought I was crazy. Little did he know that he would soon become a convert. Quinoa is full of antioxidants and vitamins; it also happens to be full of protein (about 8 grams per cup of cooked quinoa). It is low on the glycemic index and naturally gluten-free. Quinoa’s flavor profile is also neutral enough that it is extremely versatile in various recipes.

Chickpeas pack even more protein into this salad and add fiber. One cup of chickpeas contains over 14 grams of protein and over 12 grams of fiber making them a great source of alternative protein.

Beets happen to be one of my favorite foods, so much so that pickled beets were the first thing I canned on my own without my mother’s help. Beets are full of antioxidants and when pickled the fermentation process adds some fantastic probiotics to these beautiful root vegetables. I use pickled beets in this salad so I don’t have to add salad dressing to boost the flavor. If regular beets fit your flavor preferences better you can drizzle a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the salad.

The last two ingredients I add into this salad are walnuts and dried cherries. Walnuts add a crunch to this dish and contain a significant amount more of omega-3s than any other nut. Dried cherries are a fantastic source of Vitamin C. Not a fan of cherries? Dried cranberries make a great substitute.

All the different components of this salad make this a healthy choice for any diet. It can be eaten as is or served over a bed of your favorite greens.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 1 heaping cup of chopped pickled beets
  • 1 cup of chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and incorporate well (the quinoa should turn a pretty pink color).
  2. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.

This recipe will generously serve two adults as a main course or 4-6 people as a side dish.

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