Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roasted Beet Quinoa Salad

Back in the summer my brother and I went one out one evening to the Richmond Night Market which runs all summer long, every weekend from June to mid-September. The main attractions are the booths selling lots of cheap things such as phone cases, wallets, watches, and various gadgets as well as some clothes. They have other more obscure things but I can't remember it all. Also there are lots of food vendors selling street food, usually Asian themed though there are others as well.

Generally I don't go to the Night Market more than once each summer however my brother was looking for a pair of sunglasses to replace those he had broken and we figured that the Night Market would get us the best deal. While we were there we came across a booth that was sampling different flavors of Frank's RedHot Sauce. I love their commercials on TV with the grandma that says, "I put that sh** on everything!"

Despite the name "RedHot" it turns out they actually have eight different flavors ranging in spice level. After sampling a lot of the flavors my brother and I agreed that we both quite liked the mildest flavor "Chile n' Lime" and I ended up buying some at the store the following week.

The reason I tell this story is because this salad is not actually a new recipe. I have made this quinoa salad a few times in the past but generally I was the only one that ever ate it, therefore I always made small batches. Last weekend I decided to make the salad and use some of the "Chile n' Lime" sauce as part of the dressing. The addition of the hot sauce added a kick to the salad that was always lacking in the past and it totally put the salad on a new level. Both of my brothers loved it and by the next day it was gone. I hadn't anticipated how popular it would be and didn't even have a chance to take a picture for the blog so I ended up making it again later in the week. Now it makes me wonder what other dishes could benefit from a touch of Frank's RedHot.

Roasted Beet Quinoa Salad
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 medium sized beets
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • ¼-½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Frank's RedHot Chile n' Lime
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and place on a sheet pan in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes. Depending on the size it make slightly longer but generally they are roasted enough if they can be easily poked through with a fork. Once finished, unwrap the beets and allow to cool before peeling the skins and dicing into small pieces.
  2. While the beets are roasting bring the stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the quinoa to cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until little white rings appear around the quinoa and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Once the quinoa has cooled somewhat, add the beet, onion, cilantro, and feta cheese. Add the vinegars, olive oil, and hot sauce, starting with one tablespoon of hot sauce and adding more if you like more spice. Season with salt and pepper. Keep in mind the flavor will intensify after the salad sits for a while.
  4. Refrigerate the salad for at least two hours so that it can cool. Taste once out of the refrigerator and adjust any seasonings as necessary.
Note: The salad can be eaten right away but I like to serve it cold because the quinoa really absorbs the flavor. In fact, the salad often tastes better the next day.

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