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Beetroot, quinoa & orange salad; fresh, tasty and it won't wilt in the fridge!

Beetroot quinoa orange

Do you plan your meals in advance?

Believe it or not, i'm a really lazy cook when it comes to my own meal times. Unless i've prepped in advance and can just pull my lunch out of the fridge and either shove it in the microwave or freshen it up with some leaves then i become a snacking demon and will eat my body weight in crackers and hummus whilst deciding what I'm actually going to eat!

If that sounds familiar then you need to try planning at least some of your meals in advance. I know it sounds deathly dull and samey, but it really doesn't have to be, i promise.

This week on our Sunday cook-along we made a delicious beetroot, quinoa & orange salad, it's a delicious flavour combo that I just can't get enough of! I tend to have a big bowl of it with some extra salad leaves for lunch or enjoy it as a side to some tempeh or mezze style dinner. 😋

The recipe below makes three servings and it stores really well in the fridge for up to three days. Because it's got a quinoa & beetroot base, there's nothing in there that's going to wilt or go soggy so it's a really good one for prepping in advance. 

Before I share the recipe with you, i just wanted to talk to you quickly about some of the nutritional benefits of quinoa.

Why is quinoa deemed such a 'superfood'?

1 cup (185g) of uncooked quinoa contains: 222kcal | 39g carbs | 8g protein | 4g fat

It's not the quantity of protein that's in quinoa that makes it such a good source of protein, but rather the quality. Quinoa is one of very few plant-based sources of complete protein. It contains all nine of the essential amino acids that our body can't make itself so we need to consume through food. 

Quinoa is a good source of fibre, with 10-15g per 100g, however most of this is insoluble fibre, therefore it doesn't have all the gut health benefits we tend to associate with fibre. It does still attract water to your stool and make it easier to pass, which is good for your bowels.

Quinoa also contains a good proportion of magnesium which is good for us in so many ways; creating energy, forming proteins, repairing DNA, muscle movement, nervous system functions...and the list goes on. It's really important to make sure you get enough magnesium in your diet and quinoa is one source of this. It's important to get lots of different sources so perhaps also try to get some dark chocolate, avocados or almonds in your diet as well. 

Last but certainly not least, for anyone who is coeliac or just trying to reduce their gluten intake then quinoa is ideal because it's gluten free. 

Right, now we know how good quinoa is for us, let's get cooking with it!

Quinoa, beetroot & orange salad

Quinoa beetroot orange salad

Ingredients (serves 3)

  • 500g raw beetroot 
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large orange
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 5 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1 spring onion
  • 200g rocket
  • Avocado (optional)

Method

  1. Top & tail your beetroot and chop into 1.5cm chunks. You don't need to peel them, just wash them to remove any dirt from the surface.
  2. Place on a roasting tray, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and drizzle of oil olive - roast for 30 mins at 200 degrees until they are cooked through.
  3. Place the quinoa in a dry frying pan on a medium heat and gently toast the quinoa - this releases a lovely nutty flavour. This will only take a couple minutes and you'll start to smell a lovely grainy/nutty flavour.
  4. When you start to smell the quinoa toasting, take it off the heat and transfer to a saucepan with 2x cups of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. Check it's cooked, it should have a slight bite to it, but but uncomfortably so. If it needs longer just add another splash of water and let that boil down.
  5. Into the frying pan now add 1x tbsp oil, 2 tsp Chinese five spice and 1/2 cup walnuts. Allow the walnuts to fry in the oil & spices and let the flavours infuse. This will only take a couple minutes, keep an eye on these so you don't burn the walnuts. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Now prep the rest of the ingredients and place them in a bowl;
     - chop the spring onion into thin rounds
     - pick the mint leaves off the stem and chop finely 
     - peel the orange with a knife and segment it, taking only the fleshy part of
       the orange and leaving the thin skin behind
     - add 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  7. Next make the dressing:
     - squeeze the remaining juice from the orange into a jar
     - add 1 tbsp olive oil & 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
     - shake well to combine
  8. Once the quinoa and the roasted beetroot are both cooked, add them to the bowl along with the spicy walnuts and mix well.
  9. Serve on a bed of rocket, or any other salad leaves of your choice. It's delicious also topped with some slices of avocado or even a vegan feta cheese.

Check out our live cook-along where I make this recipe if you want to cook-along with me  https://www.facebook.com/newnorm.plantbasedmealplans/videos/336405384393098

Drop me a comment below if you make this salad or share your creations on instagram @newnorm_plantbased 

Until next week 😘 

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