This beetroot-stained quinoa is insanely good. I hate throwing away any part of a vegetable – I eat the cores of every apple and pear – and in this recipe, I’ve included roasted beetroot leaves. If you can’t buy beetroot with the greens still attached at your local grocer, you can use kale instead – just cut out the centre ribs and roast for 10 minutes. The roasted beetroot leaves have an earthy, bitter flavour that offsets the sweetness of the roasted beets. If roasting the beetroot leaves seems too much, finely chop the fresh beet leaves and toss through the salad as is.
- 5 fresh baby beetroots, about 500 g (1 lb), leaves attached
- 200 g (7 oz) white quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 500 ml (16 fl oz) good quality vegetable or chicken stock (or water)
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) frozen peas (or snow peas)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
- 125 g (4 oz) fresh ricotta/ goat’s cheese or feta
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional)
- baby beetroot shoots (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Remove beetroot leaves and set aside. Wrap each beetroot bulb in foil. Spread out on a baking tray and cook for 45–50 minutes or until tender. Check by piercing the beetroot with a skewer—there is no resistance when cooked.
- While the beetroot is cooking, steam the quinoa. In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and stock. Bring to the boil and cover. Reduce the heat and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and set aside.
- With the reserved beet leaves, thoroughly wash in cold water then drain. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, making sure the leaves are evenly coated (you can use olive oil spray). Spread the beet greens in a single layer on a lined baking tray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until greens are crisp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil. Blanch peas for 2 minutes or until just cooked. Drain and set aside.
- Once beetroot is cooked and is cool enough to handle, use plastic gloves to peel the beetroot. Cut beetroot in half, thinly slice and place in a medium bowl. Add remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons), lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Add the cooked quinoa and gently toss to combine. Stir through the peas, spring onions and ricotta. Crush half the beet leaf chips and
stir through. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses (if desired), scatter with remaining beet chips and baby beetroot shoots (if using).
Images: New Holland Publishers. Photographer Kyle Manning; Stylist Jane Graystone.