Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

We eat quinoa like it’s going out of style in the summer.  Now it’s finally fall (I don’t know about where you live, but in Chicago I thought summer was never going to end!), and I wasn’t ready to give up my go-to dinner starter, but I’m definitely not in the mood for more salads.  So this week I tested out a couple of quinoa side dishes (or in one case we ate it as the main dish with a poached egg on top) that were amazing!  They’re based on a recipe in one of my old Martha Stewart magazines for quinoa hash, which is where I got the idea for the poached egg.  These would be great also as side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner!  Especially if you have vegetarians or vegans in your family, as quinoa has a good amount of protein and can be eaten as a main dish.  I served the beet-sweet potato one with roasted chicken, and it was delicious as a weekend meal.

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Brussels Sprouts - sweet & Savory Kitchens

I see Aunt Suzy and I are on the same wavelength…her latest post is very similar to mine, with forbidden rice instead of quinoa.  Can’t wait to try that one out, too!  There are numerous combinations of things that you can toss with the cooked quinoa; these are just the two that I have made so far.

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

We are on the same wavelength! I almost put in my post that I thought the forbidden rice dish could be made with red or black quinoa! I can’t wait to try these.

Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed thoroughly, and sliced thinly
1 sweet potato
2-3 beets with greens, greens rinsed thoroughly and chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop sweet potato into 1/2″ chunks and toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Spread on 1/2 of a rimmed baking sheet lined with tin foil. Peel and chop beets into 1/2 chunks, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt and spread on other half baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender, stirring halfway through, taking care not to mix beets and potatoes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté leeks and thyme for about 2 minutes, until they have softened. Add beet greens and sauté until wilted. Turn off heat and set aside until quinoa and veggies are done. Toss quinoa, roasted veggies, and leek mixture together in a large bowl with orange zest. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. shredded Brussels sprouts
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes and squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt and place on baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, until tender, stirring about halfway through.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Increase heat to medium-high and add Brussels sprouts. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes. You may want to add a little more oil to the pan by pushing the veggies to the side and adding it (I found the pan got a bit dry and added another tablespoon). Stir in oregano. Turn off heat. Combine quinoa with roasted veggies and Brussels sprouts mixture in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.


Roasted Cauliflower Pasta - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says . . .

I’m really loving non-traditional pasta dishes like this with just a few ingredients tossed with some pasta.  Probably like most Americans, I always assumed pasta came with meat sauce, marinara, or, if you’re feeling fancy, Alfredo…Jason and I survived on spaghetti marinara for the first few years we were together, living in our dinky little basement apartment in Lincoln Park.  It was either that or Ramen noodles, and I really hate that stuff.  So it’s been really fun the past several years, since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom/foodie cook, discovering all pasta has to offer.

This Martha Stewart recipe has been sitting in my files for a few years now, and I really wish I would have pulled it out sooner!  The sweetness of the roasted cauliflower and onion coupled with the salty bite of the capers is really fantastic.  This is in the “can’t stop eating it” category, for sure.  We ate it as a main dish, with a green salad.  For those of you keeping track, my little picky eater loved it, too!

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

I’ve noticed lately that cauliflower seems to be the new kale.  It’s everywhere!  When I told Margaux that I wanted to make this cauliflower pasta recipe, she said she’d been intending to make this one from Martha.  So we’ve made both and this is our first post.  I’m not sure I know which is my favorite – I loved both.  Look for a post on the other recipe soon.  We served this as a side dish to a roasted chicken breast and served the leftovers as a main dish, both with a green salad.  Yum either way!

1 large head cauliflower cut into small chunks (about 7 cups)
1 red onion, halved lengthwise and then cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1/4-1/3 cup capers, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
12 oz orecchiette pasta, whole wheat recommended
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
zest of 1 lemon, Meyer if available
1/3 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Preheat oven to 450. Toss the cauliflower, onion and capers with the olive oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread this mixture in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and brown, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook, al dente, according to package directions.  Save 1/2 cup pasta water and then drain the pasta.

Turn the pasta back into the cooking pot or a large bowl.  Toss the hot pasta with the roasted cauliflower mixture, 1/4 cup of the pasta water,  the parsley and lemon zest.  Stir until completely combined.  Add more pasta water if too dry. Either add the cheese to the pot and stir to combine or pass the cheese to add to individual servings.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe was given to my guy Randy by an Ojibway woman he used to work with at the Linden Hills Co-op.  She told him this method of combining roasted vegetables with wild rice is traditional, but that she had been creative with the types of vegetables and herbs.  Regardless, we love this dish!  We recommend that you use hand-harvested naturally growing wild rice vs. cultivated.  It’s a little like the difference between those hard pink tomatoes found in stores in the winter and those that are home-grown in the summertime.  If you don’t have easy access to true wild rice, you can order it from Scenic Waters Wild Rice – we buy from them at our farmer’s market.

This is a delicious vegetarian main dish or a wonderful side to roast chicken or salmon.  Since this seems like something that would have been served at harvest, we featured it in our Thanksgiving dinner along with roast turkey breast and my latest obsession, Persimmon Salad.  We tried a dry brining recipe from this November’s Bon Appetit for our turkey.  We liked this approach, but Randy felt that the wet brining we’ve used over the years yielded a better result.  You can see that Buddy the cat does not have a preference for one brining method over another!

The Rice

Cook 1 Cup Wild Rice according to package directions or you can choose one of these methods.  Cook the roasted vegetables while the rice is cooking – you’ll want them to finish roughly at the same time.

The Roasted Vegetables

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Scatter 4  chopped and seeded Roma tomatoes in a 9 x 12 pan.  You can also do this in a large cookie sheet or the bottom of your stove’s broiler pan. We recommend lining these latter two with foil.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the tomatoes.

Dice the following, in about ½ inch slices and cubes depending on the vegetable and place in a large bowl.  The 1 cup amount should be used as a starting point.  Our quantities typically vary from 1-2 cups depending on the original size of the vegetables we use.

1 cup carrots                                                 1 cup onion

1 cup celery                                                   1 cup fennel bulb

1 cup yukon gold potatoes and/or 1 cup sweet potato

1 cup zucchini

Toss with the vegetables:

4 minced garlic cloves                           1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Olive Oil                                       1 teaspoon pepper

Arrange vegetables over the top of the tomatoes and cover with foil.

Roast for 20 minutes at 450 degrees in the top 1/3 of the oven.  After 20 minutes, stir the vegetables and roast for 10-15 minutes more to desired doneness. If the mixture is a little soupy, roast uncovered.  If it’s a little dry, put the foil back on for the final 10-15 minutes.  You want the finished product to not be too wet nor too dry.

When done to your liking, remove the vegetables from the oven and stir in 1/2-1 cup fresh chopped cilantro.  You can substitute parsley if you don’t like cilantro.  Stir the rice into the vegetables and place in a serving dish or platter.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons dill. Enjoy!

Cooks Notes: If you use sweet potato, make sure it’s the one with the light tan skin/light yellow flesh.  The relatives of this sold as garnet or jewel yams with orange flesh are too wet.  Mushrooms are a nice addition to the roasted vegetables for an earthier flavor – try it both ways.  When selecting fennel, it should have bright green feathery tops and no brown spots on the bulbs.

Aunt Suzy says

One of my favorite things to eat is beets – which is a huge surprise to my adult self!  Growing up we had something my Mom called “Harvard Beets”, which were a sweet and sour affair in a gluey sauce.  I hated them and would do anything to get out of eating them.  Fast forward a few decades and I can’t get enough, especially of the roasted variety.  Even my niece, Sarah, who said she hated beets liked these when I made them on one of her recent visits.  Beets are plentiful right now and will be right up until fall.  This time of year they have especially beautiful and tender greens attached which are delicious.   The beets and greens can be prepared simply as in these recipes or you can use the beets in salads.


1-2 bunches beets

2 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place the rack in the upper third of the oven.  Remove the beet greens and set aside if you will be cooking them also.  Cut the stems off the top and the root off the bottom of each beet and then peel with a knife or a vegetable peeler.  Cut into pieces.  If the beets are small, you will want to quarter them; if larger, cut into 1-inch chunks.  Place in a bowl.  Process the garlic through a garlic press into the bowl of beets.  Add just enough olive oil to lightly coat the beets and then toss to thoroughly blend beets, garlic and oil. 

Line a cookie sheet or bottom of a broiler pan with foil.  Turn the beets onto the prepared pan, put in the oven uncovered and roast for 25-35 minutes until they can be pierced with a fork.  Check and stir after 15 minutes.  If cooking the beet greens, serve the beets on top of the greens.  Otherwise turn into a serving dish. 


Run a sink full of water and immerse the greens, then drain.  Do this a couple of times to remove all dirt and grit.  Cut off the stems and then slice or tear the larger leaves into smaller pieces.  Place the greens in a collander.  Put enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom into a large dutch oven.  Heat to medium.  Place 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly, into the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring.  Turn the heat up to medium high and add the greens a batch at a time.  Stir constantly until the greens are wilted and tender.  Place in a serving bowl and serve with the roasted beets atop the greens or with baked feta and olives.