You can do so much better

Hey, you busy bees looking for a better lunch: I have something for you. It’s quick, it’s healthy, it’s filling, it’s colorful, and it’s even better than Wendy’s.  Also, I just realized it’s vegan. And gluten free, I think.

Today for lunch I made a version of this beet green chopped salad from Sprouted Kitchen. I had cooked the beets the night before, had some leftover brown basmati rice from dinner, and quickly threw together the dressing before meandering out the door for work. Rather than toasted sunflower seeds, I toasted some pepitas and threw them in a little plastic bag. Then at work, lunch was as simple as chopping a beet, chopping an avocado, and throwing in the rice, pepitas, and dressing. (The beet greens sadly lay forgotten in the refrigerator drawer). I didn’t even get a chance to test the dressing before running out the door, so I was a little nervous about it, but the salad came together quite nicely – creamy from the avocado, slightly sweet from the beets, a nice nuttiness from the rice, and the perfect crunch from the pepitas, all rounded together with the tangy sesame dressing.

I was so pleased with this salad that I decided we should have it for dinner again tonight, this time following the recipe a bit more closely. Although, I must admit, I didn’t measure any of the dressing ingredients. I have a suspicion that I used more dressing than the original recipe (I like things to be nice and saucy, you see). So, if you like, I’d suggest doubling the dressing recipe. You can always save any leftover for another day. One more note: I found this recipe to be very, very adaptable in the best of ways. You could use rice, or quinoa, or cous cous, or many other grains. I think some beans added in could be nice, too; maybe garbanzo? Or even green beans, barely blanched and still a little crispy?

Have at it.

   

   

Beet green avocado chopped salad
adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
(see notes above for more improvising suggestions)

  • 1 bunch of beets, including fresh looking greens
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp. agave nectar, depending on desired sweetness
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • a few splashes of sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

So I only actually used one medium-sized beet per salad, but go ahead and cook all the beets so you can have some leftover: cook beets using your preferred method. I cooked them in a pressure cooker, but you could also boil them or wrap them in foil and cook in a preheated 450 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. You just want a knife to pierce them easily. Set aside beets to cool.

Prepare the dressing: combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar and whisk to combine. Adjust ingredients to your taste.

When ready to assemble, peel and dice one beet (saving the others for another use), dice avocado, and chop beet greens; place in serving bowl. Add quinoa to the bowl and dress with desired amount of dressing, mixing gently to combine. Sprinkle on pepitas and serve!

Kara

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