Saturday, September 29, 2012

Roasted Beet & Parsnip Quinoa Salad

I love beets!  Never thought I would hear those words come out of my mouth earlier in life.  I used to say that beets were one food that I couldn't stand.  I only had pickled beets that my Grandma made and they weren't that good.  So I immediately formed an bad opinion of beets.

But then I learned more about these incredible little jewels and I love them now.  I always feel better after I eat beets too.  Especially when I juice them!

I love to roast them and keep some in my fridge when I want to add it to a salad or mix up a vinaigrette and eat it as a side dish. 

Beets are highly nutritious and are “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetable.  (Which I need as many heart healthy veggies I can get my hands on!)

Certain unique pigment antioxidants in the root as well as in its top greens have found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke; lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects.

Also rich source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6) and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Parsnips are closely related to carrots family of vegetables; grown for their sweet, succulent underground taproots. They are also good in vitamin C; provide about 17 mg or 28% of RDA. Vitamin C is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant, easily available to us from natural sources. It helps body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gum. Its anti-oxidant property helps protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body. 

So...combining these two root vegetables with some fresh herbs, a splash of vinaigrette and some cooked quinoa that I have readily available in my fridge, makes a quick salad on go possible and packs a punch of nutrients in my body.

I can't stress how important it is to have items ready in the fridge to pull out and combine a salad or snack so you don't reach for something bad instead.  When I buy beets, I wash them, wrap in foil, put in the oven at 400 degrees and roast until tender.  Then I just peel off the outer skin, which it comes off easily after cooking, dice it up and throw it in my dishes.  I also just keep them in the foil packs in the fridge and peel and dice when I want to use them. 

For parsnips - Well they are excellent, roasted with the skin on and then tossed in a little olive oil and Himalayan pink sea salt and pepper.  They are sweet and caramelized - great to snack on just like that!

The beets give this dish a beautiful purple hue that makes it bright and colorful.

Roasted Beet & Parsnip Quinoa Salad

1 Beet, Roasted, Peeled & Diced
1 Cup Parsnips, Roasted
1 Cup Quinoa, Cooked
2 Tbsp Red Onion, Diced
1 Tbsp Cilantro, Rough Chopped
1 Tbsp Parsley, Rough Chopped
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Raw Coconut Vinegar
Dash Balsamic Vinegar (for sweetness)
Lemon Zest
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt (to taste)
Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)

Mix it up and eat it!


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