This salad is gorgeous – light yet hearty, and refreshingly cool in summer. You’ll see lots of beets at the farmers’ markets right now – the great folks at East Mountain Organics/Livity Farms always sell a fantastic array of root veggies in ABQ. Los Poblanos Organics even has cucumbers already, thanks to their awesome new greenhouses!
Beets are quite easy to grow in your garden – you can plant them in spring, or in midsummer for a fall crop, and they are mostly pest-free in my experience. Chardby the way – is the exact same species of plant, just a different variety which is bred for tender leaves rather than big roots.
Cool food fact: Quinoa and beets are actually in the same botanical family! Quinoa is a grain from South America, originally cultivated in the Andes by Incas. There are white and red varieties, the red having a bit stronger flavor. It has the highest protein content of any grain, and is a complete protein (containing all 8 essential amino acids).
The key to this recipe’s extreme deliciousness is the ume plum vinegar. Made in the process of pickling Japanese ume plums with red shiso leaves, it is salty and sour, mellow and fruity. It’s sold at health food stores and Asian markets, but if you can’t find it just substitute red wine vinegar and salt to taste.
1 C. diced beets, cleaned and peeled
1 C. quinoa
2 C. water
1 C. diced cucumber
For the dressing:
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2-3 T. ume plum vinegar
2 T. olive oil
1 t. dried dill or parsley
2 T. minced chives, green onions, or garlic scapes
Bring the water to a boil, and add the beets and quinoa. Return to a boil and cook, 10-15 minutesm the quinoa will expand and should be tender to the bite. If necessary, drain all in a colander to cool, or spread it all out on a baking sheet to cool in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Add cucumbers (although it’s still good without them), and toss with dressing.
Blogger Amy White is totally obsessed with vegetables and fruits. Amy can be found every Friday right here, and on her blog, www.veggieobsession.blogspot.com.