Red Light Quinoa Salad

I have never walked the Red Light District or even been outside of the Amsterdam Airport, but if ever there was a salad that belonged behind rouge neon framed windows, this is the one!


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3-4 small/medium sized roasted beets (need a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves for this)
  • 6 green onions chopped
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh arugula


  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard or Dijon
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

*The ingredients are not set measurements. If you love beets, feel free to add more. If you find the arugula flavor overpowering, add less. Play around with it and add as much, or as little, to your liking.

**Same goes with the dressing. You may want to add a splash more, another clove, less mustard, or more honey for sweetness. Salt and pepper are to taste as well. Play around with it and get it just right for your taste buds.


Prepare the quinoa according to the directions. I use 1 cup of dried quinoa and 2 cups of water. For the best flavor, I roast my dry quinoa before boiling in water.

Remove your quinoa to a large serving bowl and let it cool in the refrigerator.

Steam the beets until the skin is tender and ready to peel. Let the beets cool to touch before peeling the skin off. Chop peeled beets into small chunks and roast in a little olive oil and a couple of crushed garlic cloves. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper if you’d like.

Once the beets are slightly tender (not too soft or mushy), let them cool in fridge.

Whip up the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together in a bowl or mix using a blender. Remember to taste and tweak.

Once quinoa and beets have cooled, it’s time to add the other ingredients.

Add the beets to the quinoa bowl, along with the chopped green onions, walnuts, and arugula.

Using a spatula, lightly toss and add more of what you’d like.

Using the spatula, mix in the dressing thoroughly, a little at a time. Remember to taste along the way, as you might not add all of the dressing. It depends on your individual taste. Leftover dressing can be used on the side or stored for future salads.


This quinoa recipe is definitely a gateway to all sorts of variation.  I’ve added finely chopped kale, chard, pine nuts instead of walnuts, basil pesto dressing, roasted peppers, you name it!  Be creative, flirt with it, and discover the Red Light District in your kitchen!  😉 

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