The Hand Off: Quinoa Spaghetti with Beets, Asparagus and Chèvre
Inspired by the pairing of beets and goat cheese in Brianna’s Sun Beet Salad, I set out to use the colorful characteristics of beets to make a meal that echoed the hues of May flowers. I also saw a perfect opportunity to take advantage of recent seasonal arrivals: beet greens and asparagus. Taking a tip from the fair trade quinoa vodka in Brianna’s Blue Quintini, I decided to make a spring pasta and vegetable dish with a box of corn flour and quinoa spaghetti I had in the cupboard. Similar in texture to white-flour spaghetti, this gluten-free pasta is well suited for warm-weather meals with light sauces. I’ve had a few successful experiments with noodles made from the grain-like “pseudocereal” and was looking forward to using it again.
I tossed the cooked spaghetti with roasted asparagus and beets and sautéed beet greens, then sprinkled crumbles of goat cheese on top. The result was a flavorful and nutritious springtime pasta lunch full of seasonal produce and tart, creamy chèvre – bright and pink as the pansies and hydrangeas outside.
Quinoa Spaghetti with Beets, Asparagus and Chèvre
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- One 8 oz box quinoa spaghetti (substitute pasta of your choice)
- 1 bunch beets (with beet greens!)
- 1 lb fresh asparagus
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 4 oz chèvre
- salt, pepper & dried oregano to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash the beets well and detach the beet greens. Wrap the whole unpeeled beets in two layers of tinfoil and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until a knife slides easily through the thickest beet center. Let the beets cool, then peel them and cut them into one-inch cubes.
- Wash the asparagus and break off the ends (where they naturally break is right!). Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a baking pan for about 25 minutes. Cut into one-inch pieces.
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves and chop the washed beet greens into two-inch pieces. Heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or wok and add garlic. After about a minute, add the beet greens and sauté until wilted.
- Boil a large pot of water and add the quinoa spaghetti. Cook for 6-9 minutes, checking often – be sure not to overcook, as the pasta will get mushy.
- Add vegetables and greens to spaghetti and toss to mix, adding a little extra olive oil if necessary. Sprinkle with crumbled chèvre and add salt and pepper to taste. Eat at room temperature or chilled.