Roasted Beet & Quinoa Salad with Citrus-Za'atar Viniagrette

I know what you’re thinking. We’re in the depths of winter, and the last thing you want is another recipe containing beets and kale and quinoa. BUT HEAR ME OUT. This salad takes winter staples (like the aforementioned beets and kale) and jazzes them up, thanks to generous dusting of fresh mint and a zippy citrus-za’atar vinaigrette.

If you’re not familiar with za’atar (pronounced ZAH-tar) it is a supremely aromatic eastern Mediterranean spice blend – typically consisting of toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme/oregano/marjoram, cumin, sumac, and salt. I love using za’atar to spice up a vinaigrette, but it’s also fabulous for seasoning meat, fish, and vegetables or just sprinkle it on top of just about anything – hummus, baba ganoush, yogurt, bagels, chickpeas, popcorn, etc. Shop local if possible, but if you can’t find za’atar locally, here’s a recommended brand you can purchase online.

Oh! And on a root-to-stem cooking note – if you’re making this recipe and purchase beets with tops, you can (and should!) use the beet greens instead of kale in this recipe. This recipe was developed in partnership with Imperfect Produce.


Roasted Beet & Quinoa Salad with Citrus-Za'atar Vinaigrette


For the Salad
  • 3 large (or 4 small) beets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped (or use beet tops, if available)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
For the Citrus-Za'atar Vinaigrette
  • Juice from 1 orange (3-4 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons za’atar
  • Kosher salt, to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Wrap the beets individually in foil and drizzle each beet with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a pinch of salt + pepper. Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife. When cool, remove skin and chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. While the beets are roasting, cook the quinoa. Bring 1.5 cups of water and a pinch of kosher salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in 1 cup uncooked quinoa, lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the chopped kale (or beet tops, if using) to the top of the quinoa, then re-cover the saucepan and let the greens steam for 5-10 minutes. When done, fluff the quinoa and greens lightly together with a fork.
  3. While the quinoa and kale are cooking, make the citrus-za’atar vinaigrette. Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. 
  4. Combine the quinoa/kale mixture, roasted beets, chopped walnuts, and chopped fresh mint together in a bowl. Drizzle on the citrus-za’atar vinaigrette and stir everything gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed – I usually add a bit more salt and pepper. 
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