I can actually cook & Quinoa Beet Salad

Quinoa Beet SaladI had convinced myself that I cannot cook and that I do not enjoy cooking. Upon recent examination of my life, I realized that this is not actually true. In fact, one of my fondest memories is receiving the magazine A Taste of Home.

My children were all pre-teens and the four of us would go through every page, each picking out a recipe to try. It was something we all anticipated and enjoyed, right from the selection, through preparation to sampling of the wares. Some of these recipes are still family favourites 20 years later.

So, why did I decide I cannot cook? Because all the men in my life could, and I deferred to them. With the first two, I was worried about criticism. For Forever Hubby (yes, it took me 3 tries to get partnership right), I was downright intimidated. The man is a trained chef!

Like I said, I recently decided to drop anything and everything that is holding me back and do what I truly enjoy. Cooking is one of those things. As it turns out, my trepidation was completely unfounded. (Isn’t that usually the case?) Hubby even went back for seconds of my Beet & Quinoa Salad … and he claims to intensely dislike quinoa. Success!

Beet & Quinoa Salad

This recipe is based on The Food Networks’s The Ultimate Grain Salad for a Summer Picnic.


3 large beets (or equivalent in smaller ones), peeled and cubed
1 cup uncooked quinoa
11/2 cups water
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice (I just used the entire lemon and didn’t bother measuring0
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 (19 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (except I forgot the basil!)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or more if want)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (hint, never walk away while toasting pine nuts)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill


1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a cooking tray with parchment paper. Place beet cubes on the tray and coat with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30 minutes tossing at 10 and 20 minutes,  until tender when pierced with a knife.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 1½ cups water and quinoa to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and steam covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add to a large bowl along with beets; allow mixture to cool for 15 minutes.
3. For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Reserve.
4. To cooled quinoa and beets, add beans, basil, cranberries, pine nuts, dill and prepared dressing. Mix well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 5 days. You can also serve this heated up. It is just as yummy.


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