This salad is packed with flavor and nutrition, and it's a lovely light lunch. This salad contains flavorful beets, spicy arugula, filling quinoa, crunchy nuts, sweet oranges and a tangy, mustard-y dressing to dress it up. With all of these delicious, cleansing ingredients, it’s a perfect pick-me-up.
This recipe makes about double the dressing needed. I love to have extra to make either a simple salad the next day, or to repeat the salad, but you can cut the recipe in half, if desired. Also, this recipe could certainly be played with! Add black beans or shredded cooked chicken for more protein, or add homemade croutons — I'm sure there are a lot of delicious variations! We are making it with golden beets this week.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Yield: 2 full servings, or 4-6 side servings
Quinoa, Orange, Arugula, and Beet Salad with Orange Balsamic Dressing
- 3 medium-sized oranges(one used in the dressing, the other 2 peeled, diced, and seeded)
- 4 heaping cups arugula, washed and dried
- 2-3 smallish beets
- 2 cups cooked and chilled quinoa (I just make extra one night when serving quinoa as a side dish, and chill for the salad the next day)
- 1/2 cup walnuts and pecans (soaked and dehydrated and/or toasted as directed below)
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste, depending on how salty your mustard is)
- Scrub clean the beets and cut off any straggly root ends. Place in a steamer over a couple of inches of simmering water and cover. Small beets can take 20-30 minutes to cook. Large beets can take up to 45 minutes. Cook until a skewer pushes easily into the beets with just a slight resistance. Add more water during the steaming process, if needed. Remove and cool until they can be handled. Then peel with a sharp knife, and cut into thin slices. The slices will cool the rest of the way. They are fine in the salad warm or room temperature.
- In a medium sized saucepan, place the nuts and heat over medium heat. Stir almost constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant (don’t let them burn!). Remove from pan, and place on a cutting board chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. Zest one orange until you get 1 teaspoon, then juice the orange (if you don’t have a simple citric juicer, simply cut in half and squeeze over a cup). Place 1/4 cup of orange juice with the zest in a mason jar with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Shake or stir vigorously until well combine. Check flavors and adjust salt, if needed. (If using very salty mustard, cut salt in half and then taste test, and add more, if needed).
- In a large salad bowl, add the salad ingredients, toss with about half the dressing. Taste test and add more if desired. Serve right away.