Quinoa, Almond & Cranberry Salad: A Summer Essential

Summertime = BBQs, lake trips, concerts, festivals, farmers markets, bonfires and just fun events in general.

In a nutshell, lot's of food and socializing. 

One of my favorite go-to dishes for summer events is pasta salad. It kind of screams BBQ, don't you think? I just love a good pasta salad with my burger and massive plate of fruit. Sit me by the pool and throw in a good book and i'm in heaven. Yepp - that right there is my happy place. BUT, of course I wanna find the healthiest option cuz modifying comfort foods/fattening dishes is kiiiiind of a hobby.

I found this pre-made side dish that already did the modifying for me (with ingredients I could pronounce), & I was like OKKKAY -- shout out to Suddenly Salad for makin' my life easy.

Normally i'm not one to go for the boxed option, but this particular one has brown, wild & red rice, quinoa, cranberries, almonds & a sweet/tangy vinaigrette. Aka everything you need to be happy. Legit if I made a pasta salad from scratch that's everything I'd put in it... With the addition of chicken/fish of course.

AH, perfection.

For this occasion I kept it REAAALLL simple and followed the recipe straight off the box. If it ain't broke don't fix it, right? But if i'm feeling fancy I might:

  • add the salad on top of a bed of spinach & toss it with some avocado, edamame and a little lemon.
  • or if you're feeling SPICY add some pulled BBQ to the pasta salad.
  • or inside some lettuce wraps with some feta cheese and a little shrimp or chicken. 

The quinoa adds protein so you can go hard on the veggies and skip the meat all together if you want.

Mmmm roasted summer veggies. LOVE.

Fun facts:

  • Quinoa is a complete protein which means it provides all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health.
  • It's a nutritional powerhouse containing 8g of protein, 5g of fiber, 30% DV magnesium, 19% DV folate, 15% DV iron and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. (per cup)
  • It's a gluten-free pasta substitute

Ta-da! Easy peasy andddd basically you'll be everyones favorite person at the potluck/bbq/party/etc.

What's your favorite summer dish? Do tell.

x, elizabeth

+ Many thanks to General Mills for sponsoring this post & encouraging me to try Suddenly Salad.

 

Roasted Beet Hummus

 Beets and hummus. Beets and hummus. Creamy, garlic, roasted beet hummus. Beets seem to be all the rage right now, and hummus never goes out of style. So let's chat about this little concoction, shall we?

Roasted Beet Hummus

I hate the color pink.

Probably not what you were expecting to read, eh? But it's true. I own about two articles of clothing with the color pink on them. I blame this on the fact I grew up with three older brothers and was a total, full-blown tomboy.

THINK: Snap pants, a low ponytail with a middle part (hottie) and no smiling in my school yearbook pictures.

What? None of the cool, older basketball players did so why should I?

 My dad described me as a "total bruiser." Thanks, dad. 

Roasted Beet Hummus-2.jpg

Thankfully, I grew out of that stage. I ditched the snap-pants (sometimes regrettable), discovered a hair straightener, and look a lot more approachable in pictures.

I can also now fully appreciate this beautiful, HOT PINK hummus -- like what!?

Hot. Pink. Food. And not because it contains mad amounts of food coloring/harmful dye. 

Roasted Beet Hummus

I snapped a couple pictures on my phone mid-process and sent them to my friends asking what they thought it was. The responses were as follows:

  • "Beet Mashed Potatoes!?" -- Those don't sound half bad though, right?
  • "Raspberry Sorbet!... wait a minute is that rhubarb?"
  • & "Beet Ice Cream!!"

All great guesses butttttt no, no and no.

P.S. Beet Ice Cream.. yuck.  I'd rather use my calories on carrot cake cupcakes, blueberry chocolate cookies, or some strawberry yogurt bars. YESS.

Roasted Beet Hummus

I was pleasantly surprised with how the hummus tasted. I was weary the beet flavor would be overwhelming, but that wasn't the case AT ALL. It also has a super creamy texture compared to regular, beet-free hummus.  The garlic and lemon added enough flavor to give it some kick and of course dipping some salty crackers or veggie chips was just the icing on top!

This hummus is a fool-proof way to get your kids to eat their veggies, too. Pair it with some mac and cheese or a little chicken salad and you're good to go. Mom of the year anyone? 

Basically this pretty dip is a win-win. 

Enjoy!


Ingredients

  • Two Medium Beets
  • 1 Can Chickpeas
  • 2.5 Tbsp Tahini
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon
  • 1/2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • Heaping Tsp Salt
Roasted Beet Hummus Food Processor

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wrap beets in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a knife.
  3. Run beets under cold water until they're cool enough to handle. Slip the skins off with your fingers and cut into quarters.
  4. Place the beets and chickpeas in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  5. Add the salt, tahini, lemon, and garlic to your mixture. Process the mixture until the hummus is super creamy, stopping to scrape down the bowl now and then.
Roasted Beet Hummus Ninja Food Processor
Roasted Beet Hummus Ninja Food Processor