I don’t think the photo does justice to just how tasty this meal is! I rather impulsively bought a package of organic quinoa the other day, and was tickled pink to discover this lovely recipe in a new salads cookbook my mum got me (thanks mum!). It combines so many things nice—the slightly sweet roasted beet (beetroot for you Aussies), the salty spiciness of the chorizo, the earthiness of the beans and avocado, and the satisfying crunch of a well-cooked quinoa dish.
Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is an amazing ingredient. Native of the Andes in South America, it has been cultivated by humans for over 6000 years. It is technically a seed though it is often considered a grain, but unlike any other seed or grain, it contains a full set of amino acids and is therefore a complete source of protein. As it’s gluten free, quinoa is pretty much a power food—great for vegetarians, vegans, and celiacs alike! (And according to Wikipedia, quinoa is one of the few food sources being considered for cultivation on long-term manned space flights! How cool is that?) Omit chorizo and use a tasty tofu or chopped boiled egg for vegetarian or vegan alternatives.
Quinoa, Beet, and Chorizo Salad
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes hands-on, plus roasting and cooling time
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup tomato juice or tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 4 chorizo sausages
- 4 beets, stems and leaves removed (save these for other recipes!)
- 1 tin red kidney beans
- 1 avocado
- 1 red onion
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
In advance, scrub beets with stainless steel or a stiff brush to remove the outer skin, then trim off ends and slice beets into about 1.5 cm cubes. Toss lightly with cooking oil and a bit of salt and pepper, and roast in a 400 F / 200 C oven for about 40 minutes, until beets are soft inside and hopefully just a little crisp on the outside. Rotate once while cooking.
Rinse your uncooked quinoa, then place with the 1 cup tomato juice (if using paste, water it down slightly to make 1 cup liquid) and 1 cup water in a small saucepan, bring to the simmer. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has been absorbed. Remove from heat, stir every now and then to fluff quinoa as it absorbs the rest of the liquids. Meanwhile, begin cooking your chorizo sausages—they usually take about 20 minutes or so.
Slice up your onion, and cook with a tsp of oil until just beginning to soften in a large frying pan. Drain and rinse kidney beans, add to the onion. Cook until any excess moisture has evaporated and the beans are starting to brown a very little bit. (I find this gives them a bit more texture, as opposed to just being mushy.) Combine the now-cooked quinoa, onions and kidney beans, and beets in a large bowl. Mix together the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad, stirring to combine. Slice your avocado and add, stirring it in quickly to prevent browning. Once chorizo sausages are finished cooking, slice those up and add to the salad too.
Voila! A colourful and delicious dinner, which makes great leftovers for lunches too.