Colorful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach

(adopted from cookieandkatie.com)

SALAD

½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1 cup frozen organic edamame

¾-1 cup garbanzo beans

⅓ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)

2 medium raw beet, peeled (red or golden)

1 medium-to-large carrot peeled and shredded

2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 avocado, cubed

½ red onion, chopped

VINAIGRETTE

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or cilantro

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

½ to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, to taste

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for a minute or two. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, drain off any excess water and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.

To cook the edamame: Bring a pot of water to boil, then add the frozen edamame and cook just until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To toast the almonds or pepitas: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds or pepitas, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. You can also toast lightly in toaster oven. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.

To prepare the beet(s) and/or carrot: You have a few options on chopping these veggies. Feel free to just chop them as finely as possible using a sharp chef's knife. If you have a spiralizer, you can spiralize them, then chop the ribbons into small pieces using a sharp chef's knife. If you have a mandoline and julienne peeler, use the mandoline to julienne the beet and use a julienne peeler to julienne the carrot, then chop the ribbons into small pieces using a sharp chef's knife.  I have been buying the carrots already shredded to save time.  

To prepare the vinaigrette: Whisk together all of the ingredients until emulsified.

To assemble the salad: In your large serving bowl, combine the toasted almonds/pepitas, cooked edamame, prepared beets and carrots, roughly chopped spinach/arugula, cubed avocado and cooked quinoa.

Finally, drizzle dressing over the mixture (you might not need all of it) and gently toss to combine. You'll end up with a pink salad if you toss it really well! Season to taste with salt and of course plenty of black pepper. Serve and enjoy!