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Roasted Beets and Sweets Quinoa Salad

Whether you’re making this festive salad for Valentine’s Day or not, this Roasted Beets and Sweets Salad is full of flavor and nutrition.
Servings: 4


  • 3 medium red beets* about 1 ¾ pounds total, scrubbed
  • 1/3 cup slivered red onion
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 medium sweet potato about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh baby arugula
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh mixed baby lettuce or spring mix
  • Freshly ground black pepper optional


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coarse mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar drained from the onions
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt


  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Scrub beets with a vegetable brush. Wrap each beet separately in foil, making sure the beet is completely wrapped in foil. Set beets in a small baking pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until beets are almost tender (pull back the foil and insert a small sharp knife into the beet – you should be able to insert the knife into the center of the beet easily but with a little resistance). Set beets on a wire rack to cool (still wrapped in the foil).
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine onion, vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Press down on onions to get them as covered with vinegar as possible. Cover; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or chill up to 3 days.
  • In a small saucepan combine quinoa, water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, over for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. Remove from the heat. Set aside to cool completely.
  • When beets are cool enough to handle, use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin. (Note: do this over the sink and use a slow flow of water to help rinse off the skin as you peel them. Also, to avoid staining your hands, wear clean plastic gloves.)
  • Trim off the bottom and a small slice from the top of each beet; discard. Cut beets crosswise into four slices (about ½-inch thick each). Lay slices flat on the cutting board. Use a 2- to 2 ½-inch heart shaped cookie cutter to cut a heart from each beet slice. Arrange beet hearts in a single layer on one side of a foil-lined half-sheet pan (18x13x1-inch size). Save scraps from beet slices for another use**. Set pan with beets aside.
  • Peel sweet potato. Cut potato crosswise in half; cut each half the long way into ½-inch thick slices. Cut those slices the long way into ½-inch thick strips. You will end up with pieces that look like large French fries. Arrange sweet potato strips in a single layer on the other half of the sheet pan with beets. Drizzle beets and potatoes with 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss potatoes to fully coat with the oil; arrange back to the single layer. Turn beets so they are coated with the oil.
  • Roast beets and potatoes in the 425°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until beets are completely tender and potatoes are just tender and starting to brown, stirring potatoes once halfway through roasting (no need to turn beets).
  • Drain onions, reserving the drained vinegar. Set onions aside. In a large bowl toss together cooled quinoa, arugula, and lettuce. Set aside.
  • For the Dressing, in a small screw-top jar*** combine ¼ cup oil, the orange juice, mustard, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar drained off the onions, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover; shake well. Add ¼ cup of the dressing to the quinoa mixture; toss gently to coat.
  • To serve, arrange quinoa mixture on a serving platter. Top with roasted beets and potatoes. Top with drained onion. If desired, sprinkle with fresh pepper. Serve with remaining dressing.


*If you don’t want to fuss of making heart-shaped beets, make these simple changes: start with only 2 beets. After you’ve peeled and trimmed the beets in step 5, slice the beets as directed. Skip the part about cutting out the hearts. Arrange the beet slices in the baking pan as directed in step. Continue as directed. You won’t end up with any cooked beet scraps this way.
** Chop the leftover beet scraps and add them to other salads. Or, add a few of the scraps to your favorite fruit smoothie. Check out my recipe for Mango-Berry Smoothies – use some of the beet scraps in place of the beet puree called for in that recipe.
***If you don’t have a screw-top jar, whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Note: If you want to turn this into a main dish salad, simply add 8 to 10 ounces of shredded or chopped cooked chicken. Serve 2 or 3 instead of 4.
Make Ahead Tips: To prepare beets ahead, prepare beets as directed in step 1. Chill the wrapped beets up to 3 days. To prepare quinoa ahead, prepare quinoa as directed in step 3. Transfer quinoa to a small bowl; cover and let cool. Chill the quinoa up to 3 days.