In the old days, this was simply a healthy salad. Now, when I write about it, I think what are the limitations to this super healthy salad with saved brussels sprouts, red beet pesto, and red quinoa and what are the real benefits?
Whether you’re vegan, paleo, primal, or gluten free, this salad is for you with a caveat. The quinoa addition is the gluten free option, but not the paleo option, unless you’re going primal (following the Primal Blue Print as I do, and even then, it could be questionnable). The parmigianno reggiano cheese is an option that can be removed for any vegan or strict paleo, but okay for primals. The red beets would never work for something strictly low-carb, but that’s so silly to me. The only thing I can never promise you is a low-fat option, because I never ever count my fat. I love my extra virgin olive oil, and I’m never giving it up. I also vow never to use the word evoo!
If I just drove you crazy with these options and exceptions, imagine how we food bloggers feel. We want to please everyone, especially those committed to good health, but I cannot compromise the taste or joy of good food, with mostly false information about fat. I’m the ultimate super food lover, but I will not be seen with salad dressing on the side.
Whichever way you choose to make this, one bite of the shaved raw Brussels Sprouts mixed with this most delicious red beet pesto, and you will want more. The nuttiness and earthiness of the beet pesto has an umami effect, and the crunchiness of the raw shaved Brussels sprouts satisfies that need we all have to crunch down on something, The red quinoa can be optional, but it adds the chewy texture and the protein, so this could be a complete meal. It’s stir fried after it’s cooked, which changes the texture a bit for the better.
Why this Healthy Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Red Beet Pesto is Good for You!
Brussels sprouts, a member of the cruciferous, is the hipster vegetable of the moment, showing up in every kind of casual to fine dining restaurant because, like beets, they are available in the winter, and we’re all environmentally less guilty about that right?
If you need a reminder on why beets on good for you, I listed ten benefits here. Not the coolest or hippest seed as of late, often left back in the 1980’s, Sunflower seeds, are a super healthy antioxidant seed, full of Vitamin E , and a good source of selenium, calcium, manganese, and zinc. Extra virgin olive oil promotes cardiovascular health, good cholesterol, antioxidant protection for our blood vessels, is an anti-inflammatory, promotes bone health, brain health, lowers certain cancers, and seriously makes food taste better! Garlic is another food with super powers, promoting heart and brain health and protection from certain cancers, and much more. We like it for flavor.
So we have the health requests, the vegans, the vegetarians, the gluten free folks, the environmentalists and the paleo people covered, sort of. You’ll know what adjustments you need to make, but whatever you do, take the beet pesto idea and run with it. It made this salad a dream, and one I would put on any restaurant menu, especially the hipster ones, but put it in your own kitchen, or do what I did. Deem it good enough to take to the Nashville food blogger’s pot luck. I’m known for bringing this kale salad, to our blogger events, and there was one couple who was disappointed that I didn’t bring it, but, hopefully, I’ve opened up some eyes about beets and Brussels sprouts. One new blogger that joined us hated beets before she tasted the salad. She still hates beets. Just kidding. She liked it. Does this makes me a vegetable evangelist!
The red quinoa is cooked, toasted a bit in the frying pan, then tossed with freshly grated pecorino cheese. The Brussels salads are shaved and raw, tossed with a bit of olive oil and lemon, salted and thrown into the frying pan with the red quinoa for just a snap and then tossed heartily with the beet pesto. The beet pesto brings this salad to it’s best self. I’ve made a different version of same salad here, delicious enough, but this is a case of more is more. It’s hard to get healthier than shaved Brussels Sprouts and Red Beet pesto.
- 1 pound Brussels Sprouts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon juice from fresh orange
- ¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 1 cup uncooked red quinoa (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- red beet pesto
- Rinse Brussels Sprouts thoroughly. Remove some of the large outer leaves to roast.
- Using a mandolin, shred Brussels sprouts or using a chef’s knife, slice thinly.
- Mix together olive oil, lemon zest.
- Mix Brussels sprouts with olive oil dressing just until sprouts are wet. Set aside. You will reserve the rest of the dressing for later.
- The quinoa is optional and a great addition for added protein and heft.
- Cook quinoa. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in mesh strainer under running water for two minutes. Place in pot with two cups water and 2 teaspoons salt.
- Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover, cook for 15 more minutes. Place remaining olive oil in saute pan with 1 clove minced garlic. Lightly saute
- Add in one tablespoon butter and smoked almonds. Add quinoa.
- Stir for about two minutes to toast.
- Add in ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour toasted quinoa over the raw Brussels sprouts.
- Add in orange juice. Stir.
- Toss with ½ to 1 cup of red beet pesto.
- Serve at room temperature.
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