I really resist the end of summer. In fact, I get pretty defiant. I’m the mom at Office Depot the night before school starts scrambling to get supplies. I let school emails sit in my inbox unread usually for the first week. I’m not first in line at Starbucks when the Pumpkin Spice Latte returns (In August!). I roll my eyes at all the Halloween decorations on display at the retailers. I raise my eyebrow to everyone who says they cannot wait for sweater weather!
What it really comes down too though, is that I have a hard time adjusting to change. If my husband is reading this post right now, he is laughing at loud saying yep! Change is hard for me and that absolutely goes for the change of seasons too!
But eventually I have no choice but to transition out of summer and into the next season. The kids are in the routine of the school year and their activities, Friday nights are spent under the lights at high school football games, and the air becomes drier and the days more crisp. All of a sudden, I find myself starting to embrace fall.
One of the things I love best about fall is finding my way back into the kitchen. Gone are the summer nights of eating on the go or grilling something late. Instead, they are replaced with me preparing dinner for my family while the kids are at the kitchen table doing their homework. I pour over my recipes for savory soups, comfort foods, and dishes inspired by the fall harvest. Cooking this time of year really does become one of my favorite rituals of the season!
Fall Harvest Salad
The harvest of root vegetables lasts until late fall. The deep rich colors of these vegetables makes for some beautiful and healthy dishes. One of my favorites to use this time of year are beets. I recently made this salad to have on hand in the fridge over the weekend and it was a hit (more so for my daughter and I. LOL!) She took leftovers to school on Monday and she is asking for it again!
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup frozen organic edamame
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds or pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- 1 medium roasted beet*
- 1 medium-to-large carrot (or 1 additional medium beet), peeled
- 2 cups packed baby spinach or arugula, roughly chopped
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or cilantro
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup or agave nectar
- ½ to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*raw beets are fine as well but if you have time I recommend roasting them as they taste best!; wrap them in aluminum foil with salt, pepper and a little olive oil; place on a baking sheet and roast in a pre-heated 400° oven for 1 hour.
- To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for a minute or two. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
- To cook the edamame: Bring a pot of water to boil, then add the frozen edamame and cook just until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- To toast the almonds or pepitas: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds or pepitas, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.
- To prepare the beet(s) and/or carrot: If using raw: Chop, grate, peel, or spiralize them. If roasting: Slice or chop as you see fit.
- To prepare the Vinaigrette: Whisk together all of the ingredients until emulsified.
- To assemble the salad: In your large serving bowl, combine the toasted almonds/pepitas, cooked edamame, prepared beets and carrot, roughly chopped spinach/arugula , cubed avocado and cooked quinoa.
- Finally, drizzle dressing over the mixture (you might not need all of it) and gently toss to combine. You’ll end up with a deep pink salad if you toss it really well! Season to taste with salt (up to an additional ¼ teaspoon) and black pepper. Serve.
Roasted butternut squash, sweet potatoes or pumpkin would all make for wonderful additions or substitutions to this this salad as well.
Thanksfor stopping by!