INGREDIENTS

3 medium beets (about 1-1/4 lb, preferably golden beets if available)
2 Cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 Cup water
2 Cups quinoa (preferably red quinoa)
3 medium oranges
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (preferably Pomegranate Balsamic)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped and divided
1/2 Cup chopped pitted dates
1 whole pomegranate, seeded*

STEPS

Roast the beets. trim the greens and root ends from the beets and rinse the vegetables of any clingy dirt. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and roast on a cookie sheet in a 350F oven until tender, about 1-1/4 hrs.

Make the quinoa. Combine vegetable broth, water, quinoa and 1/2 tsp salt in a 2 qt saucepan. Bring ingredients to a boil over high heat on the stove, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pan until the quinoa absorbs all the liquid, about 20 min. Transfer the cooked grains to a large serving bowl and set aside to cool.

Make the citrus vinaigrette. Zest one of the oranges and juice it, collecting the juice in a medium bowl. You should have about 1/3 Cup of juice. Peel the two remaining oranges and divide into bite-size segments – set these segments aside for now. If you’re short on juice, squeeze the membranes of the peeled oranges to up the total to 1/3 Cup.  Add the orange zest, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to the collected orange juice; whisk in olive oil, a little at a time, until dressing ingredients are well incorporated. Add 1/4 Cup parsley and whisk to just combine.

Finish beets, assemble the salad. Once they are adequately cooled, peel the roasted beets and dice them. Add beets and chopped dates to the cooled quinoa; stir to combine. Pour the citrus dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Garnish with the orange sections and pomegranate seeds.

For an extra pretty presentation, make a pretty drizzle of Pomegranate Balsamic on each individual salad plate before dishing up a serving of quinoa salad on top. Garnish with a small sprig of parsley.

Makes 8 servings.

*How to seed a pomegranate: Fill a big mixing bowl with cold water. Using a sharp paring knife, score the pomegranate into four quarters from the stem end to the opposite end (top to bottom), just barely cutting through the skin. Hold the fruit under the water, break it apart with your hands, and separate the deep red seeds from the chunks of white pith. Collect the pomegranate seeds in a colander or strainer to dry and throw away (or compost) the pith.

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