The beauty of breakfast! Smoothies packed with vegetable goodness? I love. Grain-free waffles or pancakes flavored with a fall squash? I swoon. Brunch? I clap. Quinoa for breakfast? What? Yes, I reach for quinoa when I’m looking to change up the breakfast fare. My kids may not go for this meal (they’re not quite beet lovers yet), but it’s a nice change to my husband’s and my weekend.
Quinoa is a grain frequently used in savory dishes, but it can also be used for breakfast – flavored with almond milk, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup for example.
However, for this recipe, I have brought in beets to flavor the quinoa. My girlfriends joke that if I were to have a garden with only two vegetables, those vegetables would be beets and kale. (I’m thinking that they know their friend pretty darn well!) I’ve always been drawn to beets with their gorgeous green tops and brightly colored roots. Roasting them followed by adding a little acid from lemon juice makes all the difference in the world when it comes to their taste with their earthiness is replaced by a delicate sweetness.
As is true with all breakfast bowls, the fixins need to be piled high! Toasted hazelnuts (if you’re feeling fancy) with apples, figs and mint take this bowl to a heavenly place. I buy a huge bag of dried figs from Costco and keep them in the pantry. As with all dried fruit, make sure there is only one ingredient – fruit. No added sugar is necessary.
Pour yourself some coffee or tea, grab a newspaper, and settle in. This is delicious.
XO ~ Mandy
- Beets – If possible, buy beets with their greens attached. Not only does this mean the beet is fresher (grocery stores lob off the greens when they turn brown, but continue to sell the roots), but you can use the nutrient-dense greens in a salad or throw them into any green smoothie of your liking! If you have extra beets and need a way to use them up, I think you’ll love this Beet and Cashew Dip.
- Quinoa – Buying sprouted organic quinoa is preferable. If you can’t find a sprouted variety, soak your grains overnight if possible and/or give them a very good rinse before using. This will make them easier to digest and also speed up their cooking time.
Quinoa, Beet and Apple Salad with Figs and Hazelnuts
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 medium-large red beet greens removed and skin scrubbed
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- pinch or two of salt
- 2 tablespoons mint julieened, divided
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts roughly chopped
- 1 apple Fuji or Pink Lady, cored and diced
- 6 dried figs quartered
Preheat the oven to 400.
Place the whole beet on a baking sheet and roast for 60-75 minutes. Roasting times will vary based on the size of the beet. The beet will be easily pierced with a fork when done.
While the beet is cooking, prepare quinoa. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and cook for 20 minutes (or as package indicates). Quinoa will be light and fluffy when done.
Put the hazelnuts in a small pan over low-medium heat. Toast for 5-10 minutes, tossing frequently to prevent burning. The hazelnuts are perfect when lightly browned. Optional - add chopped apples into the pan for the last few minutes to soften them slightly.
Remove beet from the oven and allow it to cool. Carefully remove the skin with a knife.
Puree the beet in a high-speed blender. Add just enough water (a tablespoon at a time) to get the blades to turn.
Mix quinoa together with the pureed beet, lemon juice, honey, salt and half of the mint. Top with apples, figs, hazelnuts, and remaining mint.