Maria Speck‘s award-winning first cookbook Ancient Grains for Modern Meals is one of my favorites, so I was extremely pleased when I heard Maria was writing a follow up. Her new book is called Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well and I am happy to say this book is just as lovely as the first. It features beautiful, innovative ways to fit grains including amaranth, buckwheat, freekeh, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and teff into your life.
Ancient grains are wholesome and versatile staple foods, and Maria will inspire you to think way outside the box with recipes such as Burgundy Bulger with Blueberries and Orange Blossom Water, Sweet Potato and Oat Cakes with Blue Cheese and Sage, and Lemony Millet Pudding with Caramelized Grapes. I made her gorgeous Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets for a family gathering and it quickly disappeared…I am certain you will have a similar experience with her recipes :)
Recipe For Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets and Blood Oranges
For the beets and quinoa:
- *3 medium red beets about 1 1/4 pounds
- *2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- *1 1/2 cups water
- *2 cups quinoa preferably red, well rinsed and drained, or 7 to 8 cups cooked
- *1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the salad:
- *3 blood oranges can substitute regular oranges
- *1/2 cup chopped pitted dates preferably Deglet Noor
- *1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- *3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- *1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- *1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- *1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- *2/3 cup pomegranate seeds from 1 medium pomegranate
- *1/4 cup lightly toasted chopped pistachios for garnish
- 1. To prepare the beets, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Cut the greens off the beets (reserve for another use), leaving about 1 inch of stem. Rinse the beets and pat dry. Place the beets in an 8 by 8-inch baking sih, adding enough water to reach a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast until the beets are tender (a knife should slide in easily), 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. (If you're in a hurry, place the beets in a microwave-safe dish, add 1/4 cup water, cover loosely, and microwave on high until they are tender, about 10 minutes, depending on size.
- 2. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa. Add the broth, water, quinoa, and salt to a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to steam, covered for 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl and spread to cool, about 20 minutes.
- 3. To make the salad, cut one orange in half crosswise. Peel 1 1/2 oranges and cut the segments into 1/2-inch pieces; you will need a scant 1 1/2 cups (reserve the rest for another use). Zest the remining 1 1/2 oranges until you have 1 tablespoon zest, then squuze them until you have 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons juice.
- 4. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into 1/2-inch wedges. Using a fork, stir the dates into the bowl with the quinoa, separating any chunks. Stir in the beets.
- 5. In a medium bowl, using a fork, combine the orange juice, zest, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Gradually beat in the olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified. Stir in the 1/4 cup parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- 6. Toss once more, then top with the oranges, sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, and serve.