Friday, July 29, 2011

Quinoa and Vegetable Salad with Tahini Dressing

Last week, during my hearty salads kick, I tried out this recipe from Real Simple magazine. Their August 2011 edition has so many great salad recipes that it's actually hard to choose which ones to make. I was intrigued by this one since I love tahini and I had never eaten raw beets before. I have always enjoyed cooked beets, so I figured the raw version should be good too, which it is. I couldn't find watercress at the grocery store, so I used spinach as a substitute. I'm sure it would also be great with arugula or micro greens.

If you plan on serving this salad to a group and want your dinner presentation to look good, don't mix this before serving. Once mixed, the beets stain most of the salad red, especially the tahini dressing. They can also stain work surface and your clothes, so be careful when working with them (if you're worried, you can wrap your cutting board in plastic wrap or wax paper and hold the beets in a paper towel as you grate them).

What I liked most about this salad was the tahini dressing. I've never made one myself and it turned out great. It's really easy to tweak this dressing if you find one of the flavors to be too strong. I added a little more honey to my dressing to tone down the ginger a bit. I was also really skeptical of the additional 1/2 cup of water at first, but it turn out being necessary. You could just add 1/4 cup if you want a thicker dressing, but then you might need to make a larger batch for the salad.

Adapted from Real Simple magazine, August 2011
Serves 3 to 4

3/4 cup quinoa
2 cups frozen, shelled edamame
1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey (the original recipe calls for 1)
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup water
4 cups spinach or watercress, washed and trimmed
1 pound raw beets (about 2 medium), peeled and coarsely grated
6 to 8 radishes, thinly sliced

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Once cooked, transfer to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature (or place in a fridge and serve cool). Cook the edamame according to the package directions.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, honey, ginger, salt, pepper, parsley, and water.

Place the edamame, beets, spinach, radishes and quinoa on your serving platter, or divide among individual plates. Drizzle with tahini dressing.

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