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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quinoa, Beet and Bocconcini Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing / Marinade

Gluten free, egg free, sugar free, soy free, nut free

Beet, Quinoa and Bocconcini Salad drizzled with Honey Dijon Dressing

Behold a wonderful blend of flavours and sensations!  The lettuce is crisp, light and refreshing, the quinoa is crunchy and nutty with a hint of cinnamon, the beets are sweet and smooth while the bocconcini is soft, squishy and delicately flavoured.  Bocconcini is not necessary for this, you could try it with feta, goat cheese, mozza, cheddar, or none at all if you prefer dairy-free.  Also, the Honey Dijon Dressing is one that I've used in the past as a regular salad dressing and as a marinade for grilled veggies and shrimp so save the leftover dressing for later.  It has a sweet and tangy flavour that I find really addictive.

I know this is a bit of a deviation from my usual poor girl’s gluten free food, but what the heck, a girl's gotta treat herself sometimes, right?  And when you consider that a salad like this would probably cost you like $20 in a posh, yuppy West Coast restaurant (that means you, Vancouver, BC! Don't worry, one of the reasons I love you is because you make it trendy and therefore easy to eat healthy in a restaurant, even if you do make it more expensive. I'm seriously waiting for the day that the Cactus Club starts offering meals that are friendly for those on the Wild Rose Cleanse or something crazy like that), it’s definitely cheaper to make this at home. 

And let's face it, being healthy and gluten free means that you often end up eating a ton of salad.  So why not make fantastic, gluten free, meal size salads? 

 Quinoa is extremely healthy and good for you, but, alas, it is definitely many times more expensive than rice or even millet.  As a result, I don’t include it in a ton of recipes.  However, I’ve been visiting my mom this past week and discovered a bag of quinoa I’d left at her place the last time I visited her.  She also happened to have a container of bocconcini cheese as well as some beets that were almost on their way out the door.  Since I was craving a meal-sized salad I ended up putting together this phenomenally tasty salad. 

Beet, Quinoa and Bocconcini Salad drizzled with Honey Dijon Dressing
This recipe makes one large, meal-sized salad or 2-3 smaller sized salads.

 Wondering what's the best way to bake beets? Here's my tried and true method - I tried boiling beets and slicing and baking, etc but this way provides the absolute most flavour and texture.  

Don't trim the ends of the beet root.  Leave about 1/2 - 1" of root and stem at either end so the moisture doesn't escape the root.  Bake beets for 1 - 1 1/2 hrs (depending on size) at 375F in a covered casserole dish, until softened.  You'll know it's done when you can easily push a fork or knife tip through to the centre.

When cooled enough to touch, peel and slice the beets (the peel should come off really easily if it's cooked well enough).  The leftovers can be refrigerated for the next salad or eaten as a side dish.  I usually bake several beets at a time and keep them in my fridge to toss in plain salads and smoothies, or to make my Beet Chocolate Muffins and Cupcakes. 

Quinoa, Beet and Bocconcini Salad Ingredients:

1.5 c assorted lettuce and mixed greens as desired
½ baked beet, cooled and cut in small chunks
6-7 small Bocconcini balls
½ c quinoa
½ tsp cinnamon
¾ c water or stock (vegetable or chicken)

How to cook quinoa: In a medium size pot, bring the quinoa, cinnamon and water or stock to a boil.  Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and cool. 

Layer a plate with the greens, quinoa, beets and bocconcini.  Spoon about 1.5 Tablespoons of Honey Dijon dressing over the salad. 

Honey Dijon Dressing / Marinade:

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp water
1.5 Tbsp honey

In a small jar or container with a good lid, add the dressing ingredients and shake the jar until well blended. If you find this too tangy, add more water or honey by the teaspoon to counteract the vinegar and mustard.  The leftover dressing can be stored for up to a week in the fridge.

What’s your favorite meal-sized salad? 

*OAS Info: This recipe is free of all the major allergens listed on the Oral Allergy Syndrome charts I have found.  When in doubt, substitute or eliminate as needed.   

Gluten Free Meal Plan via Musings of a Housewife Monday Meals


  1. This looks like a delicious quinoa salad creation! When I first started eating gluten-free, quinoa was one of the first things I experimented with, and since then, my quinoa salad with spinach, pine nuts, red onion, peas, feta, and balsamic vinagrette has become my favorite "go to" dish to bring to parties. My gluten eating friends love it, and I always know I will have something I can eat :-) Thanks so much for stopping my my blog today and leaving your comment. Happy to know I'm not the only one who makes "scrambled" crepes :-)

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :) Your salad sounds great - I'm definitely a fan of pine nuts and feta too!

  2. I love any type of salad, and I swear my daughter is a 'rabbit' in a human body LOL. We could both live on salads, and during the summertime, we are in Heaven! We grow several different varieties of lettuce plus spinach. She doesn't necessarily care for many nuts, but loves quinoa. This will be a 'must try' recipe for me. Thank you so much for sharing in our hop this week!

    1. Now I'm jealous. I don't have any place to grow lettuce :( I hope your daughter enjoys the salad!


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