Whether you’re looking for a lunch box idea, a potluck dish or a light meal, this raw beet quinoa salad is a great choice. It’s bright, light, easy and delicious. Not to mention versatile too.
I always find it a little funny when I post recipes that have a good amount of beets in them as I didn’t grow up with them. By that I don’t mean we couldn’t get them, but it was one of the few things my mum didn’t like so we never had them at home.
I think it’s that she only knew those overly vinegar-y pickled ones rather than working with the raw vegetable itself. I keep meaning to try out some of my favorites on her, like golden beet and avocado toast, winter beet salad with goat’s cheese dressing or beetroot tarte tatin. At some point. I have, however, made something very similar to this for her that she liked so there is hope 🙂
What makes this Beet Quinoa Salad so great?
Yes, it has a fantastic bright color, but that’s not the extent of what makes this salad such a star:
- it’s easy to make
- you can make it ahead
- it transports well (great for a potluck or picnic)
- it’s adaptable – just add protein such as chicken, fish or steak for a fuller meal
- it’s vegetarian and gluten free with lots of great good-for-you ingredients.
Why raw beets?
Whether they’re grated or thinly shaved, beets are wonderful to eat raw. You get more of the sweet flavor than when they are cooked. If you are not used to using beets raw, they work really well grated. They are still firm, so raw beets add a lovely crunch to the salad, but the pieces are small enough they are easy to eat.
The gentle sweetness of the beets works really well with the other flavors in this salad. Plus, the quinoa takes on the beautiful color of the beets giving this salad a vibrant color. That color is one to watch, though. Just like cooked beets, raw beets bleed color, so just keep this in mind with the board and dishes you use.
Flavorful feta dressing
One of the other things I love here is the feta dressing. You might think it a little unusual putting feta and cumin in a dressing, but believe me they both work so well.
I’ve used feta in a dressing in my grilled chicken and blueberry salad before, but the cumin here adds a little more earthiness, to go with the beets. True, a feta dressing doesn’t necessarily blend as smoothly as some other dressings, but it really doesn’t matter once you mix it up. And it’s so worth it for the flavor it adds.
This raw beet quinoa salad is easy, flavorful and so incredibly versatile. Whether as a lunch box dish, for potlucks or a light main, it’s as delicious as it is vibrant.
Beet quinoa salad
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups beets coarsely grated
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup feta crumbled
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Put the quinoa and water in a pan and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer for around 12-15 minutes until all the water has gone and the tendrils of the quinoa bloom.
- While quinoa is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad - grate the beets, chop the parsley and mix together the dressing ingredients. Try to mash the feta into the dressing to be relatively smooth.
- Once quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat and add the dressing and beets. Mix through well. Leave to cool a little more before adding raisins and parsley. Serve room temperature or cool. You can add a little more crumbled feta to the salad if you like, as in the pictures above.
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