Quinoa Beet Carrot Fennel Potato Salad

We were
packing up the first floor of our home to get ready for some renovations.  As I sorted through piles of stuff, I discovered a page torn out of a very old Vancouver Sun newspaper - June 2015 to be exact.  In it was an article about a book called The Complete Arthritis Health, Diet Guide & Cookbook by Kim Arrey, and they included several recipes

Most didn't interest me with the exception of this one. I love quinoa, beets, carrotsfennel and potatoes. I loved the beet, fennel, and carrots were left raw for crunch, and they are super healthy foods to include in your diet. However, I wondered if you honestly could make a salad out of those ingredients that would taste great?  I was ready to give it a try.

As is the way with potato salad, this recipe used mayonnaise as the dressing. Very traditional. I was torn, but decided to try it and it worked out fine in terms of taste, but I wasn’t 100% happy with how it looked. The white mayo against the dark colors wasn’t the best. Also it was a tad dry.  I made it a second time, changed the amounts slightly on a few ingredients, and used my favorite flavored oil and vinegar pairing which I liked a lot better. I still might play around with the recipe more - see notes below.

The original salad with mayo dressing
The visual
 look of this dish will change depending on a few things. White or tricolor potatoes. Regular, red, or tricolor Quinoa.  Regular red beets or golden beets. I always use what I have in the cupboard, so I used red quinoa which blended into the beets. Might do white or tricolor next time. I always love the look of tricolor new potatoes, so some darker colors there too. 

Healthy, tasty and filling, and you can change up the dressing easily to one you love. Enjoy!

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Quinoa Beet Carrot Fennel Potato Salad

Ingredients - 

1-1/2 lbs.                 Small new potatoes (I used tricolor, but white potatoes would be nice)
Olive oil
                             Large carrot (or 2 small)
1                              Medium beet
1/2                           Small Fennel bulb (can also use 1/4 or leave out  for a milder taste)
2 C                          Cooked quinoa (white, red, or tricolor)
1/2 C                       Red onion
1/4 C                       Fresh parsley, chopped
2 T                           Fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 C                       Basil olive oil     
1/4 C                       Peach white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Instructions - 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Quarter the small new potatoes (if any really tiny half those). Coat with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until nicely crispy. Cool completely.

If you haven’t cooked the quinoa yet, do it while the potatoes are baking. 2/3 cup quinoa cooked in double that amount of water or broth will give you a bit over 2 cups. Once cooked, cool completely. 

Peel beets and carrots. Rather than grating and mincing separately, I grated the beet, carrot, fennel and red onion in my food processor. Easy and fast. Note - next time I will be chopping the onion, tarragon and parsley in the food processor with a blade first, then switch to the grating disk to grate the beet, fennel and carrot. Add to a medium bowl along with parsley, tarragon, cooled quinoa and cooled roasted new potatoes.  Drizzle the oil and vinegar over, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently combine and chill for several hours.

Taste before serving. You can add more salt, pepper, vinegar or oil if needed.

Notes - 
-- I love this flavored oil and vinegar pairing.  If you need help pairing flavored oils and vinegars, go to a proper olive oil store and they will help. I preferred the lighter white Balsamic vinegar for this salad, but the full bodied red will work too. Up to you. You could also sub a pre-made commercial oil and vinegar dressing (try a milder one)
-- Beets will stain the other ingredients, but the taste is worth the pink tint. You could use golden beets if you can find them. They won't stain, but do have a slightly different flavor.
-- After making this twice, I continue to come up with ideas.  Next time I might cube the raw beets, toss with oil and roast.  This will give them a stronger more intense flavor and maybe reduce some of the red staining.  The grated carrot. fennel and red onion will still give the salad a nice crunch.