Delightfully Healthy! Pretty in Pink with Beets and Blood Oranges

BeetsSampling Friday February 12, 4:30-6:30pm.

Make sure that special someone knows just how much you love them with these romantically themed Valentine’s Day recipes. Quinoa salad with beets and blood oranges is the perfect pink accompaniment to any meal. The salad uses an herbaceous chimichurri dressing that brings the little quinoa pearls to life. This salad is a perfect accompaniment to any protein (tofu, chicken, fish, etc.), which can be enhanced by doubling the chimichurri recipe and using half as a marinade. For a lighter meal, try serving this quinoa salad over a bed of greens. This dish offers a healthy alternative to the classically heavy Valentine’s Day meals.

Beets, as well as carrots, parsnips and potatoes, are all root vegetables that are in season during the winter months. The nitric oxide in red beets has been suggested to improve blood vessel function and improve stamina and performance during exercise. Beets are also rich in potassium, an essential nutrient that helps maintain normal blood pressure levels and promotes heart health. In addition, their high folate content helps support cell health throughout the entire body. The beautiful red color has been used as a natural red dye since the 16th century.

blood-orange-257902Blood oranges are named for their darker crimson-colored flesh. Their bright citrus flavor offers the perfect contrast to the beets’ earthy notes. Blood oranges are rich in anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant responsible for their distinct red color that protects the body from the damaging effects of free radicals. Oranges add a burst of vitamin C to this quinoa dish. Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant abundant in most citrus fruits, such as clementines, oranges and grapefruits, which are all in season during winter.

We used the South American whole grain, quinoa, as the base for this dish. Many people have turned to this ancient grain for its gluten free composition. It is one of the few plant-based foods that is actually a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids in adequate proportions. It comes in different varieties named for its color- white, red, and black, enhancing the versatility of your quinoa-based dishes.

Don’t forget to prepare a sweet treat for after your romantic Valentine’s dinner. Chocolate covered blood oranges with sea salt offer a seasonally appropriate twist to the classic chocolate covered strawberries. During the winter months, most citrus fruits reach their peak sweetness and juiciness, making it the perfect produce of choice. Dipped into dark chocolate, nothing says I love you like a healthy dose of antioxidants.

Turn on the charm this Valentine’s weekend, and give the gift of Mother Nature’s vibrant red gems.

Quinoa Salad with Beets & Blood Oranges

Ingredients

Chimichurri Dressing:

1 bunch parsley, chopped

2 small garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad Ingredients:

3 medium red beets, washed

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

3 blood oranges, peeled, segmented and halved

Juice reserved from squeezing the remaining orange membrane

¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

¼ cup chopped parsley, for garnish

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Using a fork, prick beets all over. Coat in olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake for 1 hour, or until fork tender. Once cool enough to handle, remove skins, rinse and pat dry. Slice into bite-sized pieces.
  • Combine quinoa, water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until all liquid has absorbed.
  • In a food processor or blender, thoroughly combine all dressing ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, dressing and reserved orange juice. Toss in hazelnuts, orange segments and beets. Garnish with parsley.

Recipe adapted from dollyandoatmeal.com

 

Chocolate Dipped Blood Oranges with Sea Salt

Ingredients

2 blood oranges

2 ounces dark chocolate

¼ teaspoon canola oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes

Preparation

  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Peel oranges, removing as much pith as possible.
  • Carefully separate the orange segments, being careful not to break the skin.
  • Heat chocolate and oil over a double boiler.
  • Once chocolate is melted, dip the orange segments so half is coated in chocolate.
  • Lay the orange segments carefully on parchment paper. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Place in refrigerator until chocolate sets.

Recipe adapted from hungryaustralian.com

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