Tag Archives: quinoa

Roasted Spiced Carrot and Quinoa Salad

<img alt="roasted spicy carrot and quinoa salad"/>

Sometimes when I’m at the market, I come across bags of brightly colored carrots — carrots in a deep burgundy and cheerful yellow nestled with the expected orange.  Once in a while there are a few  very pale yellow carrots in the mix as well, but the burgundies are what I think most striking.  Once sliced the rich, dark tone of the exterior rings the brighter orange in the center.  I can’t resist them when I see them simply because they’re beautiful.

I begin to think about what I might make with them as I add them to my basket, remembering that in past experiences I’ve been disappointed to find that when peeled — especially the dark ones — the beautiful color goes with the peelings.  Or when put into something braised, the color dissipates in the cooking liquid.  Such is the life of someone who not only enjoys food for its flavor and nutritional value (or lack thereof from time to time), but for its innate beauty.  It’s all a bit like taking time to smell the flowers so to speak.  Appreciate the small things in life which are easily unrecognized if — as in the example of these carrots — one always grabs the bag of tiny already peeled baby carrots.

Go ahead.  Call me silly.

No, these beauties were destined for the perfect recipe — one I’d seen in Food & Wine and tagged immediately.   I love quinoa and couldn’t resist the blend of spices in the recipe that would go fabulously with the roasted carrots and some dark, leafy greens.

First, peel the carrots lightly — or maybe you’re someone who just gives them a good scrub with a veggie brush.  I don’t like the bitter taste of the peelings, but maybe it’s my imagination.  I eat peelings on just about everything except carrots.

<img alt="colorful carrots"/>

<img alt="colorful carrots"/>

After you peel the carrots, split them down the center, then quarter them.  Some may need another cut to even the pieces out.

<img alt="spices for roasted carrot salad"/>

This is the part where it pays off to have all the spices on hand a recipe like this calls for.  The aroma is heavenly, and the mix of color so beautiful.

<img alt="colorful spicy carrots and onions"/>

The carrots are tossed in a bit of olive oil and a portion of the blended spices.  Sliced red onions are added to roast at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, tossing the mix once or twice during the baking time.

I thought both red and black quinoa would look attractive with the colorful carrots.

<img alt="spiced red and black quinoa"/>

Another portion of the spice blend is mixed in with the quinoa before cooking.

Water is added to the quinoa and spices and cooked until all the liquid has been absorbed.  You’ll have to check it occasionally and stir a bit to make sure it’s cooking steadily.  It will take about 20 minutes at most.

<img alt="roasted spicy carrots"/>

The carrots and onions smell so good when they’re roasting.  When they’re finished, just set them aside to cool down while you finish making the rest of the salad.

<img alt="super greens for salad"/>

I like to buy big packages of a mixture of spinach and baby kale because it comes in so handy for salads or any other way I’d like to use it.  The greens are very tender and packed with so many nutrients your body will thank you for.  I used several large handfuls for this salad.

The greens are tossed first with a bit of lime juice and extra virgin olive oil.  You can season lightly with salt and pepper if you like, but there will be seasoning in the other parts of the salad as well.  I always toss my greens in a bowl separately before I decide whether I’m going to plate the entire salad, or portion them out separately.  It depends…

<img alt="lemon mustard vinaigrette"/>

Then a dressing for the quinoa and other ingredients is made with lime juice, mustard, and some of the remaining spice mix that was used for the carrots and quinoa.

The dressing is added to the cooked quinoa and dried cranberries are mixed in.  Aren’t the colors beautiful?  I love this salad!  Spoon the quinoa mixture over the greens…

<img alt="roasted spicy carrot and quinoa salad"/>

…then layer the spicy roasted carrots over the quinoa.  Toasted walnuts finish the salad.  I’m hungry for it all over again just looking at it!  It’s sweet and spicy, crunchy and refreshing.  I enjoyed mine by myself because the hubster was working late, so I had time to mull over the color and flavor of everything wondering what he’d think when he got home.

<img alt="roasted spicy carrot and quinoa salad"/>

It kept quite nicely at room temperature covered with plastic.  In fact, there was too much for the two of us for dinner, so I was able to enjoy the rest the next day for lunch.  Delicious.


Roasted Spiced Carrot and Quinoa Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This salad is full of aromatic spices and packed with nutrients. It's a perfect meal by itself.
Recipe type: Salad, Vegan, Gluten-free
Serves: 4
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 lg. carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • ¼ red onion, sliced thin
  • 7 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c. walnuts, toasted
  • ½ c. red quinoa
  • ½ c. black quinoa
  • 2 c. water
  • juice of 1 lime, divided in half
  • 4 c. mixed dark leafy greens
  • 1 tsp. Dijon
  • ½ c. dried cranberries
  • 2 T. chopped cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the paprika, turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, and allspice with 1 tsp. of salt, and 1 tsp. of black pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine them.
  3. Place the carrots and onions on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 T of olive oil, then sprinkle with 1 T of the spice mix. Toss around a bit to coat the vegetables well.
  4. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time, until tender.
  5. Prepare the quinoa by mixing it with 2 T of the spice mix and the water in a medium sauce pan.
  6. Cover the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer to continue cooking until all the moisture is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.
  7. After the quinoa is started, coarsely chop the walnuts and put them in a skillet in the oven along with the carrots to roast for 5 minutes -- just until golden.
  8. Prepare the greens by adding 2 T of the olive oil and the juice of ½ lime seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper to a large bowl. Whisk until blended, then add the greens and lightly toss with the lemon and oil mixture.
  9. Divide greens evenly among separate plates, or arrange on a single large platter according to your desire.
  10. In the same large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 T olive oil, the juice of the remaining ½ lime, Dijon, and 1 T of the spice mix. Add the quinoa and cranberries and toss lightly to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Spoon the quinoa mixture over the plated greens, then arrange the roasted carrots and onions.
  12. Sprinkle with the toasted walnuts and finish with the chopped cilantro.


 Recipe Notes

  • The original recipe by Anna Zepaltas can be found here at Food & Wine.  My changes were primarily to use lime juice instead of lemon, cilantro instead of parsley, allspice instead of cardamom, and to add the black quinoa to the mix.  I like cilantro and lime and thought the combination would be great in this salad.
  • This was a great dinner salad and as much as my husband pretty much eats whatever I prepare — whether it contains meat or not — some nights, he still wants something more.  This was one of those nights.  But it was perfect for me.
  • I think a perfect addition to this salad — or substitution — would be sweet potatoes or butternut squash.  Both would work well with the spices and greens and perhaps be a bit more filling to my husband who will help himself to a bowl of cereal after dinner if he isn’t completely satisfied.
  • You should have some of the spice mixture left over — I think I may try it in some butternut squash soup — but it would taste wonderful on so many different things.



Great Meal for Summer Weather: Quinoa with Grilled Pork & Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

I know it’s sweltering across the country right now, and even though we’re enjoying a balmy 73 degrees right now (sorry, I can’t resist…I know.  It’s not very nice.  But I can’t stand the heat.  I melt in the heat.  I’m not comfortable at any temperature above 83.5 degrees.  It’s the only real think I truly like about where I live, since we don’t get snow, or pretty trees with colored leaves, or…)  Ahem.

As I was saying, it’s always great to have a few recipes around that you can put together semi-painlessly and with little or no cooking.  Or that can be made a bit ahead so the kitchen isn’t heating up when you least want it to.

Are you curious yet?  So no baking.  And no sweets.  I’m trying to cure a few of you of that.  You know…diversification.  Whatever. 

The July 2007 issue of Gourmet magazine has many, many lovely recipes in it.  I’m trying to break my habit of getting the magazine in the mail since it’s available on epicurious, I’ve grown to really enjoy reading it.  It will most likely be the only magazine I hang on to from my ‘zine addiction.  *sigh*  I just try and think of all the trees I’m helping to save.

Anyway, Gourmet has a section called "Gourmet Every Day:  Quick Kitchen."  I’m not one to seek out "quick" meals, because for me, that’s usually just throwing a few things together.  What’s the point of a recipe.  Also, a few times, the ones I’ve tried haven’t been all that great.  However…I’ve made the "Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce" twice in the last month (a TOTAL record for me) and recently tried the "Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa" to go with the pork.  Both recipes are featured in the "Quick Kitchen" section of the issue, and they were quickly tagged to be added to our recent vacation fare.  YUM.  Sorry the photos are few and a bit fuzzy.  I’m completely challenged when there are lots of people around, cooking, and trying to take photos.  It’s nerve wracking.  Plus, a bit strange, and I already give everyone enough to talk about.

This is a perfect meal to make when you are wanting to wow both meat eaters and vegetarians.  It’s fabulous.  I’ve noted my variations below each recipe.  The recipes are posted exactly as written and can be located at epicurious dot com.

Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce

The vinaigrette is light, and would be excellent on chicken, shrimp, or a plain salad.

Serves 4


1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/3 c. olive oil
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
6 (12/-inch-thick) boneless pork chops


  1. Whisk together lime juice, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp. salt, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking well.  Whisk in cilantro.
  2. Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat.  Pat pork dry and season with salt and pepper.  Oil grill rack, then grill pork chops, covered, turning over once, until just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes total.
  3. Serve drizzled with some vinaigrette, and with remainder on the side.

*If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, chops can be cooked in a hot lightly oiled large (2-burner) ridged grill pan over moderately high heat.


The first time I made these (no photos from that night — just the second time I made the chops), the chops were quite thick (1-1/2 inch) and were amazing.  The pork was lean, nicely grilled, and very moist.  The flavor was excellent.

I brushed on a small amount of the vinaigrette toward the end of the cooking time on both sides of the chops, then drizzled more over all before serving.

I also substituted basil for the cilantro the first time, because that’s what I had.  It was very good and I can’t say whether I enjoy the cilantro more, because each has its own flavor.

I added green onions or scallions to the vinaigrette.

I used two very large cloves of garlic for 3 chops.  We love garlic, and no, we don’t think this overpowers the taste. 

Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa

If you haven’t tried quinoa (keen-wah), you should consider it.  It’s a
pleasant tasting grain that is very high in protein.  It cooks up much
the way pasta does, and has a very mild nutty flavor.

Serves 4


2 tsp. grated lime zest
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 T vegetable oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. quinoa
1 (14-15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 med. tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter oil, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
  3. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salter water (1 T salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve).
  4. Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don’t worry if lid doesn’t fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from heat and remove lid.  Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.
  6. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed.
  7. Stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.


I doubled this recipe since we were feeding about 10 and we had some left over for lunch the next day.

I used Trader Joe’s "Harvest Grains Blend" which is a mix of Israeli Style Couscous, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo Beans, and Red Quinoa.  I had it at home and wanted to try it, so this recipe seemed perfect.

Don’t get hung up on the steaming part.  Save some of the liquid drained from the quinoa and use that to steam it after you place the sieve over it.  I used a clean terry kitchen towel and tucked in the edges.  Then I set the lid on the whole contraption.  Just be careful not to set the towel on fire.  No, I didn’t set the towel on fire.  Sheesh!

The rest is food history.  I totally believe this is another recipe that could easily mix well with grilled veggies.  YUM.  Or, grill the limes and then squeeze the juice.  Seriously YUM.

To finish it off, you need one deck or patio, an umbrella, a cool glass of chardonnay (okay, so what do I know about wine other than I like to drink it?), an evening, and great friends.  Ahhhhhhhh…….