Kale, Quinoa Salad with Roasted Balsamic Beets

i've been increasingly ditching meat and trying to get more comfortable with a vegetarian diet.  i doubt i  will ever cut it out completely, but i'm looking to decrease our intake even more than its current state.  for the most part, meat happens at dinner and usually 2 servings divided between the 4 of us.  breakfast and lunch are meat free for the most part.  breakfast is either poached /soft boiled eggs with toast and some fruit or maybe a smoothie OR steel cut oats with fruit.  lunch is often more fruit and/veggies with some cheese, perhaps a sandwich or grilled cheese (with fig spread and kale), guacamole with chips or on the super laziest of days i allow us to enjoy a box of Annie's instant mac'n'cheese.

last friday with the kids over at my mom's, i bought some halibut.  i happily let kevin take the reins on this one and he blew it out of the water with a poached halibut with a light curry and rice.  having not had opportunity to cook for the last couple of months since his work hours got bumped later, this was truly incredible.  so much so, that i might actually see about getting him to make it again sometime this week.  one of the books i'm currently reading has proposed having soup 3-4 times a week which i am more than TOTALLY STOKED about.  i love soup.  i love the cozy warmth and the depth of flavours that come from hours of simmering.  even without a cold, soups still hold the ability to soothe and heal the insides.

i know, tacos are supposed to be a once a month thing but here they are again but this time with FISH!  pan seared with ground coriander, we used crunchy refreshing jicama and mango to switch things up a bit.  with a good squeeze of lime juice, it was a blast of summer on another chilly Vancouver Spring evening.  can't wait to make these for visitors when summer arrives and we can dine out on the patio!

i know, you came here for the Kale Quinoa and Beet salad, but i felt like it would be good to give a little context to where i am headed with food these days.  the last two stir fry dinners were with shrimp and the other with just straight veg.  the last 3-4 nights have been straight veg and they've been fantastic and filling.  i'm using whole grains and brown rice which when paired with dark green veggies is supposed to really fuel your body, and if you pay close attention, you'll find you are less likely to be craving late night snacks.  i'm also doing my best to slow down my eating pace, to chew my food longer and to be more present.

i'm a hippie. whatever.

so i was super stoked to find this Kale Quinoa Beets recipe on another night where i had not planned dinner and was not interested in running to the grocery store for last minute ingredients.  i found it at thefirstmess.com which looks like a pretty damn good place to find more recipes.  to be quite honest, i did feel a little worried that working with beets was going to send me down the rabbit hole all over again, especially when it came to chopping the beet greens off. 

warm kale salad with quinoa + balsamic roasted beets
Inspired by Donna Hay Magazine, Winter 2012 issue
serves: 4
notes: You could use chard or actual beet greens for the salad as well. If you only have access to bigger beets, just cut them into quarters or sixths pre-roasting. Some crunchy, toasted hazelnuts would be a nice garnish here too.
2 bunches of baby beets (about 12 beets total), scrubbed and trimmed
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp demerara sugar
2 tbsp grape seed oil
salt and pepper
kale + salad:
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 bunch of curly kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp grape seed oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper
handful of pecorino shavings (parm or grana padano would be great too)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the trimmed beets in a 2 inch deep ceramic or glass dish. Pour the balsamic vinegar and grape seed oil in. SPrinkle the muscovado sugar, salt and pepper around the beets. Cover dish with foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, stir the beets up a bit and continue to roast, uncovered, for 20 more minutes. They should be quite tender. Remove from the oven and allow dish to cool.
In a small saucepan, place the rinsed quinoa and 1 cup of water. Add a pinch of salt. Place pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is mostly cooked and the little tails start to pop out. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat the 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and smoked paprika. Stir around until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the quinoa, a splash of water and half of the kale. Stir around until kale begins to wilt a bit. Add the remaining kale, season with salt and pepper and keep stirring. The kale should all be slightly wilted, but still firm. Take off the heat and transfer kale and quinoa mixture to your serving bowl.
Arrange roasted beets on top of the greens and quinoa. Drizzle salad with the balsamic cooking liquid in the pan (there should be about 1/4 cup of it left). Scatter  the pecorino shavings on top and serve.

did not have hazelnuts.  did not have pecorino so opted for the parmesan.  did not have 12 tiny beets, chopped up 3 large beets instead.  did not have grape seed oil, used extra virgin olive oil.  

yes, the 2 cups of balsamic vinegar kind of scared the crap out of me, but it turned out so well.  everyone except moses had two bowls.  i think he is a lot more sensitive to vinegar and in the entirety of his life, no matter how many times he has tasted them, he's just never been huge into beets.  he opted to skip dinner knowing he wouldn't be eating until breakfast the next day.  that's how we roll.

sigh.  how i love cherry blossoms.  these babies were picked from our day at the park in the previous post.  they are already dying.  good things we have a few trees in full bloom just outside!


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