This roasted beet and quinoa salad recipe with goat cheese and hazelnuts is what all health food ought to be. That is to say, it’s as stunning to the eyes as it is to the palate.
This roasted beet and quinoa salad recipe with goat cheese and hazelnuts looks stunning and, vastly more importantly, is just as stunning to the palate. The quinoa is nutty, the sweet roasted beets are tender, the goat cheese is creamy and tangy, the hazelnuts crunchy, and the balsamic dressing lends a perfectly acidic touch. And everything takes on a pleasing purple hue from the beets. When you look at the recipe, you’ll notice that it has quite a few steps, but it’s incredibly easy to put together. While you roast the beets, cook the quinoa on the stovetop. And then roast the hazelnuts as soon as the beets come out of the oven. The dressing takes mere minutes to prep at the last moment. It’s largely a hands-off salad that turns out to be supremely satisfying. It just takes a little savvy strategizing.–Angie Zoobkoff
Roasted Beet and Quinoa Salad
For the roasted beets
For the quinoa salad
- 1 cup uncooked white, red, or black quinoa
- 1 small to medium head radicchio
- 3 ounces goat cheese (about 1 cup crumbled)
For the balsamic vinaigrette
- 1 medium or large shallot minced
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Roast the beets and hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Adjust the oven rack so it’s in the middle position.
- Place the beets in the center of a very large sheet of heavy-duty foil (or a couple stacked sheet of regular foil). Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and a few turns of pepper. Wrap the beets in the foil and place the packet on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast the beets until tender when pierced with a toothpick or fork, about 70 minutes, depending on their size.
- Remove the beets from the oven, carefully open the foil to let the steam escape, and let cool. Reduce the oven to 325°F (163°C).
- While the beets cool, scatter the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and slide it in the oven, shaking the sheet once or twice so they toast evenly. You’ll know they’re done when they’ve browned slightly and when you can smell the aroma of the nuts wafting from the oven, which should happen in anywhere from 7 to 12 minutes. Keep careful watch so the hazelnuts don’t burn.
- When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel the beets by gently rubbing each beet with a paper towel. The skin should slip right off. (Some beet juice will probably get on your hands. And it stains. So don some thin rubber gloves if you don’t want purple fingers and keep the beets away from your best wooden cutting board.)
- Cut the peeled beets into 1/2-inch (16-mm) chunks. (You can cover and refrigerate the roasted and peeled beets for up to a couple days.)
Prep the quinoa salad
- Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse well under cool running water. Combine the quinoa, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water in a large pan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer the quinoa until the water has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the quinoa rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Transfer the quinoa to a plate or a baking sheet and let cool to room temperature. (You can cover and refrigerate the cooked quinoa for up to a couple days.)
- If you want to serve the quinoa salad in radicchio cups, reserve some of the outer leaves of the radicchio. Quarter and core the radicchio and very thinly slice it.
- Transfer the hazelnuts to a clean towel, close the towel to create a bundle, and roll the hazelnuts around inside the towel. Uncover and shake the skins out of the towel and let the peeled hazelnuts cool completely. (You can store the toasted hazelnuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a couple days.) Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
Prepare the balsamic vinaigrette
- In a bowl large enough to hold the salad, combine the shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Let rest until the shallot softens, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Whisking constantly, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream to the bowl with the remaining ingredients. (You can cover and refrigerate the vinaigrette for up to 1 week. Whisk to recombine just before using.)
Assemble the roasted beet and quinoa salad
- Add the sliced radicchio and chopped beets to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
- Add the cooled quinoa and hazelnuts to the bowl with the radicchio, beets, and vinaigratte and stir to combine. Add the goat cheese in small clumps and gently fold to distribute it. Serve the salad straight from the bowl or, if desired, spoon the salad into individual radicchio leaves. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I thought that we were going to like this roasted beet and quinoa salad but I was surprised at just how bowled over we were by it. All the ingredients come together to make a whole that’s much better than the sum of its parts. The salad made a fabulous lunch eaten straight out of the bowl. The crunch of the quinoa, the tender beets, the warm crunchy hazelnuts, and the creamy rich goat cheese worked perfectly together. This is a salad that will impress and satisfy. I highly recommend you give it a try.
I can see stuffing small radicchio leaves with the salad as a first course to a nice dinner. I would also like to pile the salad on endive leaves to eat as “finger food” with friends or even as a treat while we’re cooking and sharing a glass of wine and waiting for dinner. The balsamic vinaigrette is fabulous and one that I would like to use for other salads.
This recipe is definitely an addition to the healthy cooking class I teach at my gym. I am always looking for alternative ways to prepare quinoa.
The beets I selected were on the small side and so I had 4 beets that took a total of 50 minutes to cook until fork-tender. It took another 20 minutes for them to cool enough to peel and dice them.
As the beets were cooking, I started the quinoa. I prefer to keep my quinoa a bit al dente, otherwise it gets mushy as it absorbs the vinaigrette. As the quinoa was cooking, I made the vinaigrette to give it maximum time to develop its flavor.
There is a bit of hands-off time making this recipe but there are enough other steps to keep you busy. Once the quinoa was cooked, the vinaigrette resting and the beets cooling, I roasted the hazelnuts until fragrant. The only change I would make is using feta instead of goat cheese. If the beets and quinoa are not cold, the goat cheese softens and becomes a soft globule with a slightly unpleasant texture.
The key to this recipe is the marinated beets with shallots. THE winning detail. Those beets are delicious!
We made the salad twice, once with radicchio and once with romaine. Both good. While the hazelnuts were terrific, the second round we used pine nuts, and those were excellent as well.
Our beets were on the smaller side, so the roasting time was about an hour. This is a good salad and open to many variations—top with avocado or chicken for a meal.
This is a beautiful and delicious crowd pleaser of a salad! It has all the elements to satisfy. I used a tricolor quinoa and, coupled with the jewel beets, crunchy nuts, and tang of the dressing, this was impressive with both taste and presentation.
Definitely serve it in the radicchio cups! This is both a lovely side or vegetarian main. Easily serves 4 to 6.
This was a somewhat time-consuming recipe with all components requiring separate cooking. The good thing is that all components can be prepared ahead of time so it would come together quickly for a future meal.
There was way too much dressing for the amount of salad. I would suggest using half the amount. I think it would have been better to chop up the radicchio a bit more rather than thinly slicing it. It was a bit difficult to eat. It would “”fit”” better into the radicchio cup that way. Also the hazelnuts definitely need to be coarsely chopped and not used whole.
We enjoyed this salad. The hazelnuts were a nice complement to the goat cheese and beets.It is a very healthy salad. If you were going to serve it in the radicchio cups you would probably need to have an extra head. Using the cups would be a “”fun”” presentation for company.
Originally published October 10, 2019