Recipe for a Healthy Planet: Lisa Murray – Roasted beets and spinach can combine for a tasty salad

Lisa Murray

Lisa Murray

Spinach beet salad.

Spinach beet salad. PHOTO BY LISA MURRAY

Cooked quinoa.


Published: 05-10-2024 12:01 PM

Do you ever have more produce in the refrigerator than you can use? Sometimes this happens because we simply buy too much, or wind up going out for meals more than we had planned. Despite our best efforts, I’m sure most of us have contributed to the 40% of food waste nationwide at one point or another.

Roasting vegetables is a great way to use an overabundance of produce in your refrigerator. Roasting intensifies and sweetens the flavor of vegetables, and can sometimes make their texture crispier. The difference between roasting and baking is that roasting is done at a higher temperature, 400 degrees or higher.

If you absolutely can’t use what you have on hand, composting food waste has the benefit of becoming a natural soil amendment that you can use to boost the health of your flower or vegetable garden soil. Go to for more information about composting and other climate-friendly tips.

Thinking ahead to the summer garden, beets are very satisfying to grow, as well as fresh spinach, parsley and carrots. This dish combines them all, which I serve over quinoa. Quinoa is a good source of protein and makes a nice base for roasted vegetables.

Roasted beets with spinach with quinoa

Serves two.


-- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed in sieve until water runs clear*.

-- 2 beets, sliced or cubed.

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-- 2 carrots, sliced into coins.

-- 2 cups baby spinach, washed.

-- 8 ounces cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans).

-- ½ cup corn kernels

*Tip: Quinoa is naturally coated with saponins, which taste bitter, so rinse them off the quinoa before cooking.

Dressing ingredients

-- 3 tablespoons olive oil.

-- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.

-- 1 tablespoon dried parsley or ¼ cup fresh.

-- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.

-- Salt/pepper, to taste.


Bring one cup water to boil and add rinsed quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then let rest in covered pot for an additional 10 minutes.

Toss beets and carrots in just a tablespoon of olive oil, and then roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Steam corn kernels.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss beets, carrots, spinach, corn, and chickpeas with dressing. Serve over quinoa.

Toasted sesame seeds can be a nice addition to sprinkle over the top of this dish, as are sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Lisa Murray has a passion for exploring the impact our food choices have on human and planetary health.