September 25, 2010

Quinoa with Golden Beets and Goat Cheese

I find colours so fascinating. I can't really paint, but in my work I have to deal with colours every day. When I'm drawing maps on my computer, I often have to decide what colours would look good on the map layout, and how everything on the map would look balanced. Of course there isn't that much I can change: the water needs to be blue, the roads usually have a pre-set range of colours to use, and so on. I think this fascination is one reason why I love cooking colourful food too. Eating different coloured foods is also a good way to have a balanced diet (and I'm not talking about eating different coloured m&m's :-)), and maybe a good way to get your kids eat those vegetables as well!

This quinoa salad has such vibrant colours, and the black quinoa and golden beets create a great contrast. You could certainly use white quinoa as well (to my understanding there is no significant difference in nutritional values), and use normal red beets instead of the golden variety. Goat cheese is such a classic with beets, and I've added some cashew nuts for texture. I've used this apple-balsamic dressing with beets before, and it goes lovely in this dish too!

Quinoa with Golden Beets and Goat Cheese

1 cup black quinoa, rinsed well
1 and 3/4 cup water
3 medium sized golden beets
60g goat cheese
small handful of cashew nuts, toasted

Apple-Balsamic Dressing

2 tbs caramelised balsamic vinegar
2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
dash of fresh lemon juice

flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Wash the beets and cut of the stems leaving a few centimetres attached. Place the beets into a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until just tender. Leave to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel of the skins and cut into pieces.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to boil. Add the quinoa and let simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat and leave, covered for 10 minutes.

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and mix well.

To assemble, mix the quinoa with the beets and spoon on a serving plate. Top with crumbled goat cheese, toasted cashew nuts and drizzle with the apple-balsamic dressing. For some extra colour, serve with fresh parsley.