Roasted Beet & Fennel Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

I visited a new market recently that had a huge selection of beautiful produce. When I returned home I was excited to try a recipe I found in order to use the fresh veggies I picked up!

The first thing I learned about working with beets was that their juice tints things quickly…like my countertop, my mixing bowls and my hands, lol. Rinsing everything frequently while preparing the beets was key. Otherwise their color was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t wait to eat them.

I love the taste of licorice so I was really looking forward to eating the fennel as well. The fragrance was heavenly as I was cutting it. After I removed the stalks and the leaves, I used a peeler to take off a thin layer of the outside of the bulb. I then cut the bulb in half to remove the center’s hard core before thinly slicing the rest of the vegetable.

It took me about 40 minutes to roast the veggies until they were tender enough to mix with the cooked quinoa and dressing.

I realize that beets aren’t for everyone because of their earthy taste. However, I think that the combination of flavors from the fennel, the grains and the tangy vinaigrette really made this dish pop. I served it as side, but this could easily be prepared as a main course also.

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Ingredients

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
4 small-medium beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Citrus Vinaigrette:
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Salt to taste

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Stir together the sliced fennel and chopped beets in a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, coat vegetables thoroughly with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Pour mixture onto baking sheet and cook until beets are soft, about 35-40 minutes, tossing after 15-20 minutes.

3. While veggies are cooking, prepare quinoa according to package instructions and set aside. In a small bowl, make the citrus vinaigrette by whisking together all ingredients and set aside.

4. When beets are soft, remove baking sheet from oven and let sit for a minute to slightly cool. In a large bowl, combine roasted beet and fennel mixture with quinoa and citrus vinaigrette. Serve immediately or chill until ready to eat.

Adapted from the original recipe: http://dishingupthedirt.com/beets/roasted-beet-and-fennel-salad-with-citrus-vinaigrette/

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