Quinoa Salad with Roasted Broccoli
Quinoa is a highly nutritious, grain-like seed and one of the few plant-based sources of protein containing all nine essential amino acids. It’s also high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. That’s what makes quinoa such a great ingredient to add to your list of healthy foods. The only downside is that it’s rather bland in the flavor department and could use a little help.
The one thing that can add the most flavor to quinoa, in my opinion, is a good dressing. Our vinaigrette has an assertive flavor that soaks into the cooked quinoa and becomes more flavorful the longer it sets. It’s made with extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, Mexican oregano, and roasted garlic.
Roasted broccoli, onions, and red bell pepper impart a much-needed savory flavor to this dish, while pomegranate seeds add just the opposite with a burst of sweetness. Extremely healthy in their own right, these juicy little arils, packed full of antioxidants, make this quinoa salad stand out from the crowd.
Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer to remove the saponins that are on the surface of the seed. Even if the bag says the quinoa is pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to do it again. Saponins have a naturally bitter compound that acts as a defense mechanism to deter insects, as per Scientific American.
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Quinoa Salad with Roasted Broccoli
- 1 pound broccoli crowns (about 1 to 2 crowns)
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 large onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 large garlic cloves, still in papery skin
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano – Explore The Spice House | Shop Now
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
- Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate (if pomegranate seeds are not available, they can be omitted)
DirectionsPrepare the quinoa according to the package directions. Once cooked, spread it out in a shallow pan to cool. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Separate the broccoli florets from the stalk, and then cut the florets into smaller bite-size pieces. Keep them relatively the same size.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the broccoli, red bell pepper, and onion with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables evenly on a large baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves (still in their paper coverings) and roast for 20 minutes. Turn and roast about 10 minutes more, until they’re just tender with some browning on the edges. The time here is approximate; start checking the vegetables at 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool while you prepare the vinaigrette.
Cut off the hard end on the garlic cloves and squeeze the flesh out of the paper covering onto a cutting board. Chop fine and then use the flat side of your knife to mash it into a paste. In a small bowl, whisk together the mashed garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, oregano, and salt.
Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the quinoa and mix well. Add the vegetables, toss again, and top with pomegranate seeds.
Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving so the quinoa can absorb some of the dressing. Refrigerate if serving at a later time.
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