Posted by: A Part of the Solution | July 5, 2012

Quinoa, Beet and Celery Salad

This is one of my favorite summertime salads. I’ve been making this quinoa salad since I saw the recipe in an issue of Martha Stewart’s Living, circa August of 1994. This salad is high in protein. This beet and quinoa salad is high in minerals. This simple summer salad is flavorful, balanced, naturally vegan and gluten free. And I’ll even post some variations below it, so’s you have an entire repertoire of these easy ‘grain’ salads at your disposal.

And yes, you can re-hydrate cracked bulgar wheat and use that instead of the quinoa.

Quinoa, Beet and Celery Salad

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and rubbed against the mesh of a strainer or colander to remove the bitter saponins

1 lb of fresh beets, or a little more if they’re smaller, red beets are best here with golden a definite second shot and chioggia tied for third with white beets

3 stalks of celery with some leafy tops included

juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tsp prepared mustard

1-1 1/2 tsp salt

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp black pepper

up to 8 TBSP, 1/2 cup or 4 oz, extra virgin olive oil

1 handful fresh peppermint, minced (optional)

Scrub the beets and set them in a saucepan covered by 1/2″ with cold water. Bring the beets to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow them to simmer until a knife pierces to the center of the largest beet easily. This may take from 25 minutes to 50 minutes. Drain the beets and allow them to cool. Slip the skins from the beets and cut them into 1/2″ chunks.

Bring 2 cups water to the boil in a covered saucepan of at least 1 quart capacity. Stir in the rinsed quinoa and reduce the heat to low when the quinoa comes to a simmer. Cook the quinoa covered for 15 minutes. Leave the quinoa to sit covered off the heat for 10-15 more minutes.

With a vegetable peeler, lightly remove the strings on the curving  outside of your celery stalks. Rinse the stalks well. Cut them into pieces smaller than a green pea.

Chop and mash the garlic clove with the salt. Put the garlic paste with the lemon juice,the mustard and the black pepper in a small bowl, or the bowl of a food processor or blender. Combine these until the mixture is smooth. Add the oil very slowly at first, whisking or running the food processor/blender constantly. Add the oil in a thin, steady stream. After adding 6 TBSP or 3 oz, taste the dressing and see if it needs more oil. If it’s still very sharp and sour, continue adding the oil until it is all amalgamated. If it’s balanced, proceed with the recipe.

Combine the beets, quinoa and celery in a medium serving bowl. Pour the dressing over, and add half the minced peppermint (if using). Stir these well in to the salad. Allow the salad to marry and chill in the fridge for at least one hour. Sprinkle the remaining minced peppermint over the salad before serving.

Quinoa, Cucumber and Cured Olives

2 slicing cucumbers, or one English cucumber, peeled and slit in half lengthwise and the seeds scooped out with a spoon

1/4 cup, 2 oz, cured olives, drained of excess oil, slivered

1/3 cup, 1 1/2 oz, pine nuts, toasted

3 large sprigs dill weed, cleaned and minced (optional)

1 cup quinoa

dressing as above

Cut the cucumber into 1/2″ dice. Sprinkle it lightly with salt , toss the pieces in a colander and allow them to sit in the sink while you prepare the quinoa, sliver the olives and toast the pine nuts.

Toss all ingredients, but only half the minced dill, together and allow to marinate together as above. Finish with a sprinkling of dill.

Quinoa, Mushroom and Shallot Salad

8 oz mushrooms, sliced fatly and sweated in olive oil with a little salt

3 shallots, minced and briefly sweated

1 oz dried cherries, slivered (optional)

2 oz toasted walnuts, chopped coarsely (optional)

1 cup quinoa

dressing from above

1/2 bunch fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems, washed and chopped

Drain mushrooms while you prepare the quinoa. Combine all ingredients, except the walnuts (if using) and half the thyme. Let the salad marry in the fridge. Finish with the rest of the thyme and the walnuts sprinkled on top.

New World Quinoa Salad

1 cup cooked black beans

1 cup fresh corn kernels

3 jalapenos, seeded and minced

1 cup quinoa

dressing as above, substituting the juice of a large lime for the lemon

1 handful cilantro, washed and minced (optional)

Prepare the quinoa. Make the dressing. Combine all ingredients, saving back half the minced cilantro. Let the salad marry in the fridge for at least one hour. Garnish with the rest of the cilantro and serve.



  1. Luckily, it’s not too late to sow some beets…

    • We’re in a position to start succession planting beets. Yay!

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