Quinoa, Orange, Arugula, and Beet Salad with Orange Balsamic Dressing

This salad is packed with flavor, nutrition, and is a lovely light lunch. This salad contains flavorful beets, spicy arugula, filling quinoa, crunchy nuts, sweet oranges, and a tangy, mustard-y dressing to dress it up. With all of these delicious, cleansing ingredients, it’s a perfect pick-me-up if experiencing post-election stress syndrome. While I am pretty darn uninvolved in politics, I take pride in casting my vote and hoping for the best for my country. No matter which way the election goes in the end, each year the day of election finds my stomach in knots. And whether happy or disappointed in the results, I find need of nourishing frazzled nerves the next day.

This is the perfect salad for that end.

Quinoa, Orange, Arugula, and Beet Salad with Orange Balsamic Dressing -2 Main Dish servings, or 4-6 side salads
This recipe makes about double dressing needed. I love to have extra to make either a simple salad the next day, or to repeat the salad, but you can cut the recipe in half, if desired. Also, this recipe could certainly be played with! Add black beans or shredded cooked chicken for more protein, or add homemade croutons…I am sure there are a lot of delicious variations! I am making it with golden beets this week. 

3 oranges (medium) (one for the dressing, the other 2 peeled, diced, and seeded)
4 heaping cups of arugula, washed and dried
2 smallish beets
2 cups of cooked and chilled quinoa (I just make extra one night when serving quinoa as a side dish, and chill for the salad the next day)
½ cup walnuts and pecans (soak and dehydrated and/or toasted as directed below)

Orange Balsamic Dressing
¼ cup of fresh orange juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste, depending on how salty your mustard is)

1. Scrub clean the beats and cut off any straggly root ends. Place in a steamer over a couple of inches of simmering water and cover. Small beets can take around 20-30 minutes to cook. Large beets up to 45 minutes. Cook until a skewer pushes easily into the beets with just a slight resistance. Add more water during the steaming process, if needed. Remove and cool until they can be handled. Then peel with a sharp knife, and cut into thin slices. The slices will cool the rest of the way. They are fine in the salad warm or room temperature.

2. In a medium sized saucepan, place the nuts and heat over medium heat. Stir almost constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant (don’t let them burn!). Remove from pan, and place on a cutting board chop into bite sized pieces.

3. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Zest one orange until you get 1 teaspoon, then juice the orange (if you don’t have a simple citric juicer, simply cut in half and squeeze over a cup). Place a ¼ cup of orange juice with the zest in a mason jar with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Shake or stir vigorously until well combine. Check flavors and adjust salt, if needed. (If using very salty mustard, cut salt in half and then taste test, and add more, if needed).

4. In a large salad bowl, add the salad ingredients, toss with about half the dressing. Taste test and add more if desired. Serve right away.


I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. Corinne says

    Sounds Yummy! Do you mean balsamic vinegar instead of balsamic dressing? If balsamic dressing is correct, what brand do you use and where do you buy it? Thank you!

  2. hilary-fay says

    This sounds lovely, but what is aragula? Oh and by the way, a qustion from over the Pond, did you get the result you hoped for in the election?

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