Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Roasted Carrot and Onion Quinoa Salad

"We don't make mistakes, just happy accidents."  - Bob Ross

I love the idea of a happy accident.  Something that happens or comes together unintentionally but ends up being so much more than ever expected.

My third child is a happy accident and she turned out pretty great (insert proud mom smile here).

My husband, who has been struggling to find a way to pass his free time in our new home, found some beautiful slabs of marble in an old quarry on a motorcycle ride a few weeks back.  This was most definitely a happy accident.  He has since discovered that if he polishes and cleans them up they are quite beautiful and make great cheese boards.  It's pretty cool to watch him get inspired and get to work with his tools.  I picked out a stunningly white one for myself that I'm sure will show up from time to time in my photos here.

This salad is one of those happy accidents.  I haven't been doing a very good job planning my meals lately and, honestly, traffic and the crazy drivers and the tiny one way streets around my house are less than motivating when it comes to getting out and going grocery shopping.  One recent night I realized that I had nothing to serve as a side to the chicken I planned to grill.  We've all had nights like that, I know.  So I dug around in my cabinets and fridge and was able to scrounge up a few basics that I thought maybe I could do something with.  Carrots, some lemons, a box of quinoa from that was hiding behind the pasta.  I wasn't super hopeful, but knew at the very least that I'd have some roasted carrots to serve.

Imagine my surprise when I ended up with a salad that even my 12 year old son loved.  There are earthy and herby notes balanced out by the bright citrussy dressing.  A happy accident indeed.

Roasted Carrot and Onion Quinoa Salad
Makes 4 servings.
For the printable recipe click here

I don't have too many recipe notes for this salad.  It's pretty easy, it just requires a bit of thinking ahead to roast the carrots and onions.  This salad would be gorgeous with rainbow carrots but the plain old orange ones are perfectly at home here.  Sadly, we can only get the orange carrots here in Athens so that's what I rolled with.  Had I had cilantro that's probably what I would have used, but parsley works very nicely with the lemon in the dressing.  Use either or both, if you wish.  Next time I may try the salad with red onions instead of the white.  Both roast beautifully but there's something about the sweetness of a roasted red onion that I can't resist.

3 medium carrots (about 1/2 lb), peeled and sliced into 1 inch coins
1 large sweet onion
1 sprig thyme, thyme leaves stripped from the stem
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tbs
1 cup raw quinoa, rinsed
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs honey
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim the stem end from and peel the onion.  Leave the root end in tact.  Cut the onion into 8 wedges through the root end so that the wedges stay held together.  Toss the onion wedges, carrots, thyme and 1 tbs olive oil together on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Roast for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

In the meantime cook the quinoa according to package directions.

In a serving bowl whisk together the 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, honey, lemon zest and juice and salt and pepper.  Stir in the quinoa, roasted vegetable and chopped parsley  Toss to coat in the dressing.  Serve immediately.

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