Roasted Beet and Feta Quinoa

This morning I was quite productive.  So productive that I was worried/scared that I might want to fold and put away laundry once I got everything else done.  Can I just say that I am relieved that I ran out of steam after lunch?!?  Those of you that have shared an abode with me are none too surprised.  I can live/dress out of my dryer for the rest of my life and be has happy as pie – blueberry pie at that.  By the way, my parents are sighing right now and shaking their heads, asking themselves where they went wrong with this child.  They didn’t raise me to act like this!   But I am harming no one and I am none to bothered by my inaction.  So until I become bothered or company comes over I shall continue on in this fashion.  It is what makes me, me.  Its similiar to how I don’t close cupboard doors.  Never have, never will.  Deal.

So what did I have for lunch that knocked me back to my senses?  Quinoa.  I love this stuff.  It is a grain-like food from South America.  I generally use it in place of rice or pasta.  It cooks very quickly ( 10 to 15 minutes and its ready to serve) and its protien packed in comparison to other grains.  Step aside brown rice!  

Most dishes that I whip up with quinoa involve sauteed veggies, parmasean cheese, a ZipLock container, and is eaten around 4am.  However, on this week off I wanted to mix it up a bit and remembering a recipe I found several weeks ago that used roasted beets – I figured I would give it a shot.  Quick question though.  Why are beets so darn expensive?  The 4 you see pictured above cost me 7 whole dollars.  Ridiculous!  The guy behind me in line at the grocery nearly collaspsed when he heard how much I was paying for them…he said they should cost pennies because so few people actually eat them.  I have to agree with Mr. Stranger. 

If you don’t like beets …. 1) have you tried them roasted?  Try this route of preparation before you write this vegetable off.  Trust me – Just do it!   2) If you still don’t like beets than substitute any vegetable you would like.  Carrots or asparagus or green beans or mushrooms.  Be creative.  Eat what you enjoy!

Let’s roll …

Cut off the tip and the leafy stems from the beet itself and then peel.  Your hands will stain red and so will everything these guys touch – don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

 

Slice ‘em kinda thick…

And dice them into medium chunks and toss with oil, salt, and pepper…

 

Roast them for 20 to 25 minutes in a 400°F oven…

While the beets are roasting, prepare the quinoa…

Toss them together when ready.  Don’t forget to top with feta cheese!  I almost did, what a mistake that would have been!

Sit on patio, enjoy lunch, and remember that you prefer your laundry out of the dryer.  To think I almost folded those shirts! 

 

Roasted Beet and Feta Quinoa

Serves 2 hungry people as main dish.  As a side dish this would be plenty for 3 to 4 people. 

Ingredients

  • 4 Large Beets, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil or any vegetable oil  
  • 1 Cup Quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 Cups of water, stock, or white wine - I used white wine today because I didn’t have stock and it was very good!
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Feta Cheese, crumbled

 

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F

  2. Toss diced beets with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour out onto a baking sheet lined with tinfoil (easy clean-up) and spread out into one layer.

  3. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

  4. While roasting, in a small pan combine water/stock/white wine and quinoa.  Bring to boil.  Once boiling, cover, and reduce to simmer.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  – Read cooking directions on box to ensure proper cooking method for your quinoa – but this is the common method. 

  5. When beets are roasted and quinoa cooked – place both in a medium to large bowl and toss to combine. 

  6. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese .  Yum!

  7. Eat and enjoy :)

Roasted Beets

 

The most valuable knowledge a child can have is that when plugging your nose you loose all sense of taste.  This is especially helpful not only when taking cough syrup and antibiotics that claim they taste like bubblegum (I lie to kids daily and feel terrible about it), but also when you have parents who enjoy eating beets.  We had  many showdowns at the dinnertable  that involved a bowl of beets, 3 children, and 2 some what annoyed parents.  We tried everything to get out of eating them; arguing, claiming an allergy, feeding to the dog, etc… None of which worked.  So we plugged our noses and quickly swallowed the beets, often times not chewing.  Oh they were terrible.  I have to say mom didn’t serve them often – thank goodness!   As I’ve matured (kinda) my palate has as well, however beets are still questionable.  I can eat them diced and in a greek salad, the flavor of them is wonderful for pickled eggs, but I can still not eat them plan and straight out of the can.  

The can!  I’ve identified the problem.  What vegetables are really good out of the can?  While the canning process is indeed very valuable, especially in the winter, it does no favor to the taste or texture of any vegetable.  So, I marched (drove) myself to the grocery and bought me some beets.  These things in the raw are hard, ugly, dirty, and once peeled they stain everything they touch… whoever thought to eat these things for the first time must have been crazy or starved.  

So how does one cook these things?  It being a root vegetable that is packed with sugar, what better way to prepare them but to roast them?  Plus, I am in a roasting state of mind and most vegetables are best when roasted especially root vegetables.  So that is what did, I roasted them and wowza were they good!  They did not taste or even resemble their canned counterparts.  I topped warm beets with a bit of crumbled feta cheese.  What a great combo!  

My goal with these is to win over my brothers who were scarred as children and probably haven’t eaten a beet since their childhood.  We will see  - I’ll keep you updated!

Ingredients

(I only used 4 small to medium beets (see pic) since I was only eating them, if feeding several I would use 3 to 4 sm/med beets per person, alter other ingredients only sightly for additional beets-use your best judgement)

  • 1 bundle of small to medium beets (mine contained 4)
  • 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil … enough to coat, (see note above)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Crumbled feta cheese (optional) … I used maybe a tablespoon.
  • 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven t0 425
  2. Cut the leafy tops and rooty bottom off the bulb and peel off the outer skin. The fleshy innards will stain anything they touch, so be careful!  
  3. Dice the beets into about ½ inch cubes or thereabouts – no need to be exact
  4. Toss chunks with olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour out onto a baking sheet
  6. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes until tender.  Turn vegetables over very 10 minutes or halfway through, ensuring even roasting (every side gets nice and caramelized).
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to serving dish and top with crumbled feta.
  8. Grab a fork and enjoy!

 

If you are able to find other varieties of beets, for example Chiogga (candy cane) or golden beets this recipe would work for those as well.  Plus if using baby beets they are sweeter and have a milder flavor than larger beets.  Again, possibilities are endless.