Heirloom Carrot Quinoa

I made this dish originally for Mother's Day and it was the perfect addition to my brunch menu. The Heirloom Carrots are easily made into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and can be done in advance. Actually pretty much all of the components can be made in advance but more on that later. I wanted to bring my readers an easy dish that also has the ability to be gorgeously plated. You can really use your creativity with this one. All the ingredients are beautifully colored and remind me so much of the best season, Spring! If you cannot find Heirloom/Rainbow Carrots, feel free to use regular carrots, although you should keep in mind that they may not be as sweet.

I think that we are all looking for ways to make our favorite healthy foods a little differently, a little better and with a lot more flavor. Sometimes all you need is a few random things in your fridge for something wonderful like this to happen. Being that I decided two days before Mother's Day to make a brunch, this was a very last minute dish. Since it is essentially a salad, you can easily substitute any ingredient you wish. This recipe calls for Raspberry Vinegar, which I highly recommend buying (I've just finished my first bottle of it and can't wait to buy more). It is not overly acidic or overly sweet and pairs beautifully with the rest of the ingredients in this dish. If you cannot find it, you can substitute with a raspberry vinaigrette. If you are short on time, prepare the carrot ribbons, dressing and quinoa in advance (without the dressing and mix-ins). When you are ready to serve, putting them all together will be a cinch! Well, what are you waiting for? It's almost the Holiday...Let's get cooking!

Heirloom Carrot Quinoa


2 Cups Tri-Color Quinoa
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tbs. of Salt
1 Lb. Heirloom/Rainbow Carrots, sliced into ribbons
2 Yellow Bell Peppers, sliced into strips
2 Celery Stalks, chopped small
1 Small Red Onion, chopped
1/2 Cup of Dried Cranberries (reserve some for garnish)
1/3 Cup of Whole Walnuts
4 oz. Goat Cheese, crumbled

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 Cup of Raspberry Vinegar
1 tsp. Ground Coriander (can sub with Cumin)
Freshly Cracked Salt and Pepper


Smash 2 Garlic Cloves lightly, keeping them in tact. Cook the Quinoa according to package directions adding salt and smashed garlic to the pot. Drain the Quinoa and remove garlic. Set aside. In the meantime, peel Carrots into ribbons lengthwise using a standard vegetable peeler. Toast Walnuts in a dry pan on low, adding a drizzle of honey to sweeten, about 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to burn them! To make the dressing, whisk together all ingredients in the order listed in a small bowl and toss together with the quinoa (reserve some for carrots - or you can just double the dressing). Add the chopped Celery, Red Onion and Dried Cranberries to the dressed quinoa, mix to combine. To assemble, make a bed of the Carrot Ribbons, and Yellow Pepper Strips and any reserved dried cranberries and dressing with room in the center for the quinoa. Top with the dressed Quinoa, Goat Cheese crumbles and Honey Walnuts. Enjoy!


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