Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables or a Vegan Thanksgiving

( Just thinking:  If you’re interested in the huge South Dakota snowstorm, please read my friend Margaret Watson’s post on her blog Leave it Where Jesus Flang It.  We had just passed by there in gorgeous weather on our trip to Colorado.)

While a towering stack of boxes looms, I can’t find the stereo or my knife block, I still want to eat something delectable AND I want those around me to have a decent healthy meal as well.  For the next little bit, we’ve got our oldest son and grandson living with us while their house is being renovated.  Daughter-in-law arrives on weekends, traveling down from her job in Boulder.

Photo: :)

 We now have four dogs in the house for a Four-Dog Kitchen:  photo coming!

My plan: Keep boxes in garage, bring in a few at a time; keep house from being screaming mess.  HA!

While I cook most meals without a recipe (and you have the evidence in this blog), I’m also an avid cookbook, newspaper, blog, and newsletter reader; I like to see what others are cooking.  And, just like everyone, I give these recipes a whirl when one of them truly appeals  to me.

One of my regular email newsletters is from CHOWHOUND–a site that includes boards with local restaurant and food information, recipes, reviews of equipment, a blog, and more.  To receive the newsletter, you’ll need to sign up for the site and click on the newsletters tab in your profile.  It’s well worth it.  Another newsletter I’m really fond of is one from FINE COOKING; mine comes daily and focuses on quick meals. That it includes wine pairings makes it all the better, of course.  FOOD AND WINE has a few newsletters; I receive the daily one and love it.  I’m more apped (sic!) to use the email newsletter than the app on my ipad. Dunno why.

Over a week ago, this Chowhound Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables showed up in my inbox and I ran to the store, brought the recipe up on my iphone, bought the ingredients and ran home to make it for dinner. It happened to be a first full night in the house celebration and I also bought some small steaks and salmon filets for a surf  n turf motif, but I really think the salad was the star of the show.  Not only that it, the recipe made lots.  We ate it cold for lunch for two days (delicious) and I snacked on it once or twice.  If by chance you don’t like brussel sprouts, just leave them out and add some extra root vegetables.
Later, I kept thinking what a great vegan or vegetarian main for Thanksgiving. October 14 is Thanksgiving in Canada, by the way.

While you’ll need to go to Chowhound and find the recipe  (adapted from Joann Chang), you can see by looking at this that it’s very simply a gorgeous amount of roasted root vegetables on a bed of quinoa.  The idea is to roast some vegetables, cook the quinoa, and stir it all up together.  Great food; great leftovers. What you don’t see is the Asian-style dressing — YUM.

My changes:  small, but critical for this version……………

The given recipe on Chow calls for stirring the vegetables into the quinoa and doesn’t include the fresh greens.  I thought the salad would be more attractive with the vegetables on top for visibility and I just loved the idea of a bed of freshness (the spinach or other greens) underneath for color and texture.  The key element is the quinoa, which is quickly cooked –as quinoa is–and then stirred up with an Asian dressing that includes a whole bunch of chopped green onions.  If you don’t like quinoa, make brown rice; it would work perfectly well.  My other change was adding crushed red pepper to the Asian dressing.  It’s almost perfect, but I thought it needed a bit of a bang.  I didn’t do this, but next time I would add some toasted nuts of some kind–chopped walnuts or sliced almonds–for extra crunch.


Coming into Colorado Springs:  Cows and brilliant sun

don’t know quinoa??It’s really a seed related to spinach or tumbleweed (rather than a grain) that can be    traced back to ancient Peru…and yes, it’s gluten free, though it looks a bit like couscous.

Low in calories and fat, quinoa is  high in carbohydrates, fiber, and protein.  While it cooks in just about the same time and same way as white rice (maybe a few minutes longer), it also has close to the same amount of calories.  A good source of all the amino acids, iron, potassium, and magnesium, quinoa also offers a bit of zinc– about 1/4 of the daily allowance for women.

Try quinoa as tasty hot breakfast cereal with maple syrup and hot milk, or as a good foil for spicy hot chili.  This grain is luscious in salads and can sub for couscous or even rice in many places.   On it’s own or nestled next to your chop, add a little butter, salt and pepper and it’s ready.  Read all about quinoa here.

Shrimp-Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, and Blue Cheese

Sing a new song, unpack the house, write your editor, and keep cooking while remembering Craig Alexander–who crossed the river two years ago today,

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