Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

*Please note: This post is sponsored by TruRoots. I have received compensation for this post, but all content and opinions are my own.

It’s official. As of last Friday, FALL IS HERE!!!

So let’s waste no time jumping right into delectable fall goodies.

Like this Autumn Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden beets.

Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

Whole grain salads are one of my favorite things to make each fall.

They’re so easy to throw together, and can be customized to feature whatever vegetables look the best at the market that day.

Since they can make a HUGE batch, they’re perfect for when you have family and friends over for pumpkin carving, or even just to cook up on Sunday and feed yourself for lunch all week!

Plus, since the weather is cooling down, you don’t have to worry so much about turning on the oven, so you can incorporate some deliciously roasted vegetables into your dish. (Not gunna lie, I look forward to those all summer!)

While you can certainly throw together a pilaf with any whole grain, I really like to use TruRoots Organic Quinoa. (Save 30% now when you purchase through this offer at Target!)

It’s organic, pre-washed, and ready in just 15 minutes. Plus you can stock up and buy the gigantic 2lb package that will last you forever.

Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

I’m dropping some nutrition nerdiness right now.

Did you know that quinoa is one of the few complete protein sources for vegetarians?

This means that quinoa has all the essential amino acids (the ones you have to get in your diet since your body can’t make them) in each and every grain, just like animal products!

This also means it’s nice and filling, and will keep you satisfied for hours.

Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

Want to whip up this delicious quinoa pilaf?

It’s ready in about an hour, and is pretty freaking easy!

Simply cook the quinoa in a rice cooker or on the stove, roast some cauliflower and golden beets, and toss together with some nuts, seeds, cranberries, and cheese. Drizzle with a homemade lemon honey dressing, and you’re done!

TruRoots Quinoa Coupon

 

5 from 1 vote
Print
Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 
Servings: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 4 golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 10 oz bag of pre-chopped curly kale
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup roasted salted pepitas
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 7 oz Gruyere cheese, diced
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. First, cook the quinoa in 3 cups of water until tender and the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). I used a rice cooker so I could set it and forget it, but you can also cook it on the stovetop. To do so, place the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover the saucepan, and cook until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed. When the quinoa is done cooking, fluff it with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl. 

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chopped cauliflower and beets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the veggies to coat evenly, then shake to redistribute across the baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and golden. When they are done, add the vegetables to the large serving bowl with the quinoa. 

  3. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the kale and sliced garlic. Saute, stirring often to prevent the garlic from burning, until the kale is bright green and just tender (about 5 minutes). Add the kale and garlic to the bowl with the quinoa and roasted vegetables.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, and honey. Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and ground black pepper.

  5. Add the almonds, pepitas, cranberries, gruyere, and Parmesan cheese to the serving bowl and pour the dressing on top. Toss until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve right away!

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Creamy Kale and Zucchini Slaw

Creamy Kale & Zucchini Slaw

Believe it or not, this recipe was one of my first forays into the world of kale.

It’s a recipe I created way back in 2011, when kale was just starting to become a “thing”.

At first, I was totally weirded out about eating kale raw. I had previously only used it in soups or sautes, where it cooked down and became nice and tender.

But raw?? In a salad? My 2011 mind was blown.

So, instead of going full bore into the world of kale salad, I dipped my toe in.

First issue – texture. 

I was really worried that curly kale would be tough & unpleasant to chew.

Solution?

Thinly slicing it so it was easy to chew, and mixing it with spinach, to keep the salad light and tender.

Second issue – flavor. 

I used to think raw kale was a little in-your-face with it’s cruciferous flavor, so again, I mellowed it out with spinach and a bunch of veggies like zucchini and tomato, and slathered it in a creamy lemon-garlic dressing.

So basically, I made a slaw, more than a salad.

Chock full of shredded veggies and heavy on the dressing.

But mmmm, it’s good! I still had the recipe saved from back in the day, so today I decided to shoot it for the blog. This would be a great simple side to a backyard pool party, to serve alongside some grilled meats and ice cold watermelon.

Hope you love it!

Creamy Kale & Zucchini Slaw

 

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Creamy Kale & Zucchini Slaw
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 1/2 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced cross-wise
  • 3 cups thinly sliced spinach
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the dressing:
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Add the kale, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, and cheese to a large bowl. 

  2. Whisk the olive oil, sour cream, red wine vinegar, and water in a small bowl. Stir in the lemon zest, garlic, and salt and pepper until completely combined. 

  3. Add the dressing to the slaw, toss until evenly coated, and serve!

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Carnitas Street Tacos

Carnitas Street Tacos at Home!

It’s taco night every night up in this house.

Whenever we have leftover roasted pork or packages of ground beef or turkey tucked away in the freezer, my go-to is TACOS!

And sometimes simple street tacos are what hit the spot.

No need for fancy schmancy toppings.

The savory carnitas take center stage, simply highlighted with salsa verde, white onion, fresh cilantro, and a pop of lime.

Carnitas Street Tacos

The key to perfect tacos at home is lightly pan-frying the tortillas.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, under any circumstances, serve the tortillas raw. Blech!

You’ll end up with chalky bland tortillas that crack and break into pieces as you try to eat.

Instead, take a few minutes to warm the tortillas in a pan with a little oil. They’ll get slightly crisp, and take on a beautiful golden color. Instead of tearing, they’ll remain nice and tender and perfect for stuffing with carnitas.

Carnitas Street Tacos by Registered Dietitian Erica Julson

You can totally customize this recipe to serve even more people.

Just estimate roughly 1 hour of slow-cooking in the oven per pound of meat.

These tacos are the perfect Sunday football party fare!

 

5 from 3 votes
Print
Carnitas Street Tacos
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
4 hr 30 mins
Total Time
4 hr 45 mins
 
Servings: 16 tacos
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds bone-in skin-on pork shoulder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other high heat oil, divided, plus additional for cooking the tortillas
  • 1 package of organic corn tortillas (30 count)
  • Favorite verde salsa - homemade or store bought
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced
  • 6 limes, quartered
Instructions
  1. Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper on all sides, including the skin side.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pork shoulder sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.

  3. When the oven is preheated, place a heavy bottomed lidded pot (I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven) on the stove top. Add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and warm over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork shoulder, fat side down, and cook on that side until nicely golden brown. Rotate the pork to the next side, and continue, until all the sides and end pieces are nicely browned.

  4. When the pork is browned all over, rotate the pork so the skin side is facing up, and place the lid on the pot. Put the dutch oven inside the oven, and let cook without moving for about 4 hours, until the outside of the pork is deeply browned, and the meat is fall apart tender. If the skin is not yet dark brown and crispy, increase the heat to 500 degrees and let cook with the lid off the pan, until it is crispy.

  5. Remove from the oven, and let the pork rest for 30 minutes. Remove the crispy skin and set aside. Then, use two large forks or your fingers to pull the pork apart into pieces and then shred into bite-sized pieces. Chop the crispy skin into small pieces and toss into the shredded meat as well.

  6. Next, add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil to a large skillet and warm over high heat. Add the shredded pork & let it cook for a few minutes without stirring until some of the pieces get nice and crispy. Remove from the skillet into a serving bowl.

  7. Next, in a small skillet, pour enough grapeseed oil to form a thin layer in the pan. Warm over high heat. Using tongs, add one corn tortilla to the pan. Let it cook briefly on one side until the tortilla starts to puff up. Flip over and cook briefly on the other side until lightly golden but still pliable. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and continue with the desired number of tortillas (16 or 20 should be perfect). Continue to add oil as needed to keep a light coating in the pan.

  8. When the tortillas are done, you're ready to assemble the tacos! Place some of the pork carnitas in the center of a tortilla, spoon some salsa verde over the top, and sprinkle with minced onion and cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime over the top and serve right away.

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