Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Quinoa Salad with Beets, Romanesco Broccoli and Goat Cheese

Romanesco broccoli is hard to describe to those who haven't yet discovered this little gem. It tastes milder than broccoli with the texture of cauliflower and looks like some kind of sea coral. I've heard it described as the Lady Gaga of broccoli which also seems appropriate. In either case, if you happen to stumble across this spiral-like vegetable at a farmers market, I suggest you buy some. It's great steamed with a little butter, salt and pepper...or you can try it in my simple but fancy looking quinoa salad recipe. It's a great "girls lunch" salad served with a glass or two of Prosecco :)   ~Audrey

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
6-8 cloves garlic
1 beet, thinly sliced
Romanesco broccoli florets
goat cheese
roasted pine nuts
fresh thyme
swiss chard leaves
edible flowers

Add quinoa and garlic cloves to a warm pan - I like to use my enamel coated cast iron pan for this. Let the quinoa toast just slightly for a couple minutes, stirring constantly. Toasting the quinoa brings out a nice nutty flavor.  Add water and place beet slices on top. Cover and cook on low for approximately 10 minutes.

Add in Romanesco broccoli and cover for 5 more minutes or until all the water is absorbed and quinoa seeds have burst.

When done, carefully take out the garlic, beets and Romanesco broccoli and set aside. The garlic can be saved for another recipe.  I like to boil quinoa with whole garlic cloves because it adds a nice subtle flavor without being too overpowering. 

Spoon some quinoa onto a bed of Swiss chard leaves. Top with beets, Romanesco broccoli, goat cheese, roasted pine nuts, and fresh thyme.  Garnish with edible flowers and you have a beautiful salad.  Can be served either warm or chilled.

Serves 2

Romanesco broccoli grows great in Alaska during 
the cooler months in the fall.