Spinach Quinoa Salad with Beets

This Spinach Quinoa Salad with Beets is a beautiful blend of colors, vitamins and flavors – it just makes me feel good eating it. And it is delicious!

I confess, I can be stubborn. About many things in life. But one of the positive things I find about stubbornness is that it helps with perseverance. When something seems impossible, yet you are convinced that you can do it, being stubborn helps push you to victory.

Let’s apply that same theory to food. Specifically food that you don’t like, that you should like.

I am not talking about times like my swearing off Burger King French fries forever. Growing up, they were soggy and just plain nasty. One day, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to eat another Burger King fry. I have heard their changed the formula or the oil or something and supposedly they are better now. I wouldn’t know…I won’t even try one. Stubborn.

What I am talking about are foods that you know are good for you, but you don’t like them, don’t crave them and at times find them simply revolting. Me and mango were like that for awhile. I was making a lot of fruit smoothies right out of college and I was buying frozen fruit at Trader Joes. The least expensive fruit was mango…but I did not like it. Of course, me being me, I decided (because of the price, mind you!) that I was going to like it. Period. Stubborn. Of course, now mangoes are one of my favorite fruits!

Beets. Beets are another one of those things that I truthfully pass over at the grocery store without a second glance. Nothing about them makes me think “yum!” I know, I was tainted as a child with those horrible canned, sliced beets that stained everything on your plate. I bought fresh beets once then shredded & baked them into a cake, just for fun. But actually eating them? No way! Except…I know they are good for you. Here in Peru, when you lack color in your skin, people to tell you to consume beets, either whole or in extract.

During the months of cloudy weather, anyone who started with fair skin looks pasty white. That’s me! I always need color (even in the summer!), so of course the answer is beets, right?! Uhm…well…do I have to?!?!

But here is what happened…I saw this Spinach Quinoa Salad with Beets and I was intrigued. The beets actually looked appealing and tasty. I bought a bunch of four beets. They sat in my fridge until they shriveled. I was scared of making the beets and having to eat them. Those went into the trash and I bought more, this time with a bit more conviction that I was going to conquer my beet fear. Stubborn.

I roasted a couple of beets and felt like tasting one was the right thing to do. And I liked it. I ate another. I wasn’t planning to make the salad right away, so I packaged the roasted beets up for later. But those never made it to the salad…I kept eating them and had to roast more beets for this salad.

This Spinach Quinoa Salad with Beets feels like a beautiful blend of colors, vitamins and flavors – it just makes me feel good eating it. And it is delicious! You cannot lose with this one!


  • 2 beets, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 cups spinach, washed and cut
  • 2 mandarin oranges, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Place the beets on a medium-sized roasting pan and coat with the olive oil. Season with salt. Roast beets until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove and cool. Cut the beets into bite-sized pieces or thin slices.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and honey in a glass measuring cup and whisk. Add the cooked quinoa and chickpeas. Stir to coat. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. (This could be prepared ahead up to this point.)
  4. Stir in spinach and mandarins. Add beets over the top, stir in gently if desired. Sprinkle with slivered almonds.


My garbanzo beans always start with dry beans, soaked overnight and boiled until softened. Once they are cooled, I “pop” the skin off each and every one. I love the taste ten times more without the skin of the garbanzo. My salad used one cup of peeled garbanzos. If you would prefer to use canned, feel free to do so!

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