Perfect for Meatless Monday: Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is one of my favorite grains. I can’t remember when I first tried it — I think maybe a couple of years ago? But ever since that first experience, I’m always looking for new ways to use it. I’m not quite sure what it is but I really like the texture and flavor — soft but still a bit toothsome, but with a slightly nutty flavor.

Tossed with spicy, roasted carrots, pecans, cranberries and peppery arugula, this is a great way to incorporate quinoa. There’s also a good chance that all the spices needed for the spice mix are already in your cabinet so you really don’t have an excuse to not give this a try. It may seem like a lot of work, but after you combine the spices together, you’re basically just using it as a seasoning for roasting the carrots, flavoring the dressing, and mixing in with the final salad.

After I photographed this meal, I got the lightbulb-worthy idea to crumble some feta on top of the salad — you should definitely do that.

Also, we don’t really stick to a Meatless Monday schedule, as we have a lot of meatless meals throughout the whole week, but I thought I’d mention how great of a choice this is for Meatless Monday, as quinoa is packed with protein.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad
Adapted from a recipe in Food & Wine Magazine; serves 2-4
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 large carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup quinoa (ETA: should you rinse your quinoa? see the comments for more info)
1 cup water
3 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided
3 oz arugula
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
Optional: 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk the paprika with the turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom and 1/2 tsp each of salt and black pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the carrots with the onion and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add 3 tsp of the spice mix and toss to coat.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Meanwhile, spread the pecans in a pie plate and bake for about 7 minutes, until golden. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 1-1/2 tsp of the spice mix and the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 17 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoons of the oil with 2 tsp of the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Add the salad greens and toss to coat. Add the greens to a large bowl.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad

In the same bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil with the remaining 1 tsp of lemon juice and the zest, mustard and remaining 1/2 tsp of the spice mix; season with salt.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Add the quinoa, walnuts, cranberries, parsley and roasted carrots and toss well. Spoon the quinoa salad on the greens and serve.

3 Replies to “Perfect for Meatless Monday: Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad”

  1. Do you mind if I ask you a question? I have tried quinoa and I enjoyed it. I have seen differing opinons about cooking it however. I read somewhere that you need to rinse it before you cook it, somewhere else that you need to rinse it AFTER cooking it, and you don’t seem to rinse it at all. Have you ever heard of rinsing it? It would sure be great to skip that step. Sorry to bother you.

  2. Hi Jill: That’s a really, really good question. If the packaging for the that quinoa you are using says that you specifically don’t have to rinse it (Bob’s Red Mill, Trader’s Joe’s, etc…), you don’t. Quinoa has a naturally occurring, bitter-tasting coating called saponins, but a lot of brands pre-rinse those off.
    If you buy quinoa and it doesn’t say anything about being not needing to rinse it, you probably should give it a quick rinse in a fine-mesh sieve, under cold running water.
    Since I almost always use quinoa from BRM or TJ’s, I’ve never have to rinse, so I totally forget about mentioning it! Thanks so much for bringing that up and I hope that helps! 🙂

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