Another day, another unique salad. This one combining some rather unusual ingredients, including honey-roasted carrots, pickled beets, and dill. The beets and carrots make for a delightfully sweet salad. Darn right pretty too, with Trader Joe’s rainbow quinoa blend and some stunning rainbow carrots.
Just keep an eye on the carrots as they are roasting otherwise you’ll end up with a big mess and a ruined cookie sheet. Curses!
I only realized after the fact that we forgot the arugula the second time we made this, so I’m going to go ahead and call it completely optional (since the salad didn’t suffer without it). We liked the addition of the fresh mozzarella, but feta or goat cheese would be other good options.
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Honey-Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine-mesh sieve
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for baking sheet
2 tablespoons apple cider
2 tablespoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium carrots (about 1/2 pounds) peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pickled beets, cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill
1 head butter lettuce, leaves torn, or a few handfuls of fresh arugula
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook quinoa according to package directions, until tender. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl; let cool.
Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Whisk cider and honey in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add carrots and toss to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, spreading into a single layer, and roast until tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
Whisk vinegar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup oil until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add beets, dill, carrots, and half of vinaigrette to quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Arrange lettuce among serving bowls, top with quinoa mixture and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Top with mozzarella cubes, if desired, and serve.