On a week that’s all about stocking up on as much sugar and candy as possible (Phoebe’s already practicing yelling ‘Trick or Treat!’ at her loudest) you know what’s good? A really amazing salad. This protein-packed one is full of so many colorful superfoods that it almost feels more like a power bowl than a salad, and it’s the perfect way to gear up for a couple days of indulgence… or recover afterwards.
I love so many of this salad’s components — cumin-scented carrots, fried chickpeas, roasted beets, thick wedges of avocado — and try to keep a couple of these pre-prepped in my fridge every week so I can throw together a similar mash-up on busy days where I’m working straight through lunch. Oh, and this dressing… so incredibly addictive. Tahini is one of those ingredients that I’ve suddenly gotten hooked on experimenting with, and I make extras of this dressing and store in a mason jar in the fridge as added incentive to toss together a salad or snack on raw veggies during the week (best dipping sauce ever.)The fried chickpeas are kind of a game-changer. This was the first time I’d made them, and for the rest of the afternoon, I kept forcing them on everyone I saw (“can you believe these things — they’re amazing!!”) It’s like the best addictive “crouton” that also happens to be packed with protein and fiber, and my next fried chickpea experiment will be dusting them with all kinds of seasonings (cumin & paprika, cinnamon & sugar, rosemary & sea salt) for what I think will be the ultimate party snack.This salad is a great one to riff off of, and use whatever ingredients you’re currently loving or that you’ve got in your fridge. Not into quinoa? Barley, bulghur, or lentils would be great instead and still provide tons of nutrition. Roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash would be a great stand-in for carrots, and arugula or spinach could easily take the place of the kale. A great salad is all about creating balance and contrast, so whatever your combo, aim to have a mix of crunchy, chewy, and creamy; plus something fresh and light (the kale and radishes) with something richer (the avocado and roasted beets.)
- 5 small to medium beets
- 1/2 cup black quinoa
- 3/4 pound small carrots
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
- 4 or 5 radishes, thinly shaved on a mandoline
- 1 large or 2 small ripe-but-firm avocados
- a few handfuls of baby kale
- kosher salt
for the tahini-maple vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Scrub the beets clean, then wrap up in a sealed foil pouch and roast for 60 - 90 minutes, until a knife easily slides into the middle of the beet. Remove from oven, unwrap the pouch, and allow to cool. (This step can be done the day before -- let beets chill in the fridge overnight.)
- When they're cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub all the skin off the beets (if they're cooked through, it should slip right off!), then slice each beet into 6 wedges and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the black quinoa according to package directions, or I always use this foolproof method from The Kitchn.
- Next up is the carrots. Trim the tops, then slice each carrot lengthwise. Spread out on a foil-lined backing sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, then sprinkle with the cumin and a liberal pinch of salt. Toss it all around, spread in an even layer, then roast at 400 degrees until carrots are tender and starting to turn golden brown around the edges.
- While the carrots are roasting, fry the chickpeas. Pour a half-inch layer of olive oil in the bottom of a medium skillet, and heat over medium high heat. Add chickpeas, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, until chickpeas are very crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chickpeas to a paper towel-lined plate, then sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, vinegar, water, and maple syrup. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, then season to taste with sea salt.
- Put it all together. In a large bowl, place the beet wedges, quinoa, and carrots. Peel and slice the avocado, and add it to the bowl with the radishes, baby kale, and half the fried chickpeas. Drizzle most of the dressing over the top, then gently toss everything together. Garnish with the remaining drizzle of dressing and fried chickpeas, and eat!