This is more of a grown-up dish. The boy was in bed by the time this was finished so I’m not sure if he would like it. The other person in the house raved over it. He said “They won’t understand until they taste it.” I assure you that I made this, took the picture and we devoured it. I wasn’t allowed to clean the kitchen as I had to hurry up and write down the recipe before I forgot it (which has happened a lot). So, here is what I did:
Wash and peel 3 large beets, cut into 1/2 inch strips, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, a very little bit of ground thyme and roast in a 400 degree oven until fork tender (about an hour, or longer if needed). The beets shrink. Make sure you put them in a large baking dish so they are not in a pile. You want them to roast evenly.
Meanwhile, prepare 1 cup quinoa (either red or white) – you will have about 2 cups of quinoa after it’s cooked.
While the beets and quinoa are cooking, prepare your citrus sesame vinaigrette:
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted in a hot skillet (use large deep skillet so you can use also for the kale – see below)
- 4 scallions (green or spring onions), thinly sliced – you could substitute red onion for this
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- the juice of 1 large orange (or 2 lemons or limes)
- 1 Tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar (you can substitute red wine vinegar if you like)
- 1/4 cup of some berry flavored juice or 2 Tbsp of berry preserves (I used currant juice because I got it on sale).
Stir together all of the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.
Set aside the beets and quinoa when they are done. (Add some dried cranberries or dried cherries on top of the quinoa and put the lid back on so they plump a little from the steam)
IWhile the beets and quinoa are cooling, get the deep skillet you used to toast the sesame seeds and heat to medium high and warm up about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Then add enough cleaned and chopped up kale to fill the skillet. Saute until kale is warm, a little tender and a rich green color like in the picture (about 5-7 minutes).
Turn off heat.
Add the quinoa to the skillet and stir in with the kale. Then pour the vinaigrette all over the quinoa and kale and stir to coat.
Serve on plates and top with some roasted beats and top with a sprinkling of chopped pecans.
It’s not super quick but it’s fun.
I was paid handsomely with compliments on this. So, try it and let me know if you agree. Here’s the thing, trust your own taste buds more than anyone else’s. I taste my sauces and cooked beets and things I am seasoning – while I’m cooking – to make sure they have been seasoned with balance. Please do the same. Don’t wait until everything is assembled before you ever take one bite of it. Make sure the vinaigrette tastes good to you before you add it to your salad. You may prefer a more tart or more sweet one. Or suddenly feel the urge to add bacon. I don’t know. But it’s habit of every good chef to keep tasting. So, do it. You’ll thank yourself.
Oh, and never put your tasting spoon back into the food. That’s just wrong.
Last thing: this is also great cold for lunch the next day.