If you're like me, then you're always trying to find ways to jazz up that quinoa we always seem to have on hand. You know what I'm talking about, right? While it's simple to make and super versatile, sometimes I find myself making the same quinoa and kale salad day after day. So I decided to undergo a quinoa makeover starting with a stunning, tasty combo featuring summer fresh tomatoes, purple carrots, radicchio, fennel and tangy tahini.
Now I know this blog is supposed to be all about quinoa, but we need to talk about these purple carrots first. Between the rich aubergine color and beautiful orange pattern, I'm in love with this carrot squad, which I picked up at Eataly NYC Downtown, along with the other key ingredients in this recipe. In addition to being a good looking bunch of veggies, carrots are nutrient-rich and full of skin loving properties, which is always a bonus in my book.
PURPLE CARROT, YELLOW TOMATO, QUINOA SALAD WITH TAHINI
8 purple carrots, sliced in half the long way
2 heaping handfuls of yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
1 cup fennel, sliced
2 heads of radicchio, halved
4 cups quinoa, cooked
1 fresh lemon
For the tahini sauce
1 cup tahini sesame seed paste
3/4 cup lukewarm water, or more depending on desired consistency
3 cloves raw garlic
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the carrot halves in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste. Mix the carrots until completely covered in the oil. Transfer dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes to your desired doneness.
In another baking dish, place the radicchio halves and drizzle with olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat. Transfer dish to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or just until the radicchio starts to get crispy. Remove both dishes from the oven. NOTE: You can either chop the radicchio or keep it whole.
Meanwhile, add all tahini ingredients to a blender. After a few minutes of blending the mixture will turn into a rich, smooth paste. If the consistency is too think, slowly add a little more water until you achieve the desired consistency of a creamy dressing. Sometimes I add a little touch of agave or coconut sugar to tone down the bite of the tahini.
To prepare the dish, divide equal amounts of each ingredient and take one cup of the quinoa, top with the tomatoes, fennel, radicchio and 4 carrot halves. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice. Top with a few springs of parsley to garnish and you're ready to serve this beautiful and vitamin packed, healthy vegan dinner (or lunch).