A healthy, gluten-free quinoa salad, this Roasted Brussels Sprout Quinoa Salad is a nutritious, protein-packed salad, perfect to serve for the holidays!
About two weeks ago, I was invited on a one-day trip to upstate New York to tour a family farm and chat with them about the importance of consuming locally grown produce. This kind of trip makes me realize how lucky I am to call this my job. I'm able to share something that I'm passionate about (locally and seasonally focused produce) as well as introduce you to this amazing family actually grows this produce we're lucky enough to eat.
Amos Zittel & Sons farm is located just outside of Buffalo, NY and has been a family-operated business for over 110 years! They grow over 300 acres of vegetables and sell 95% of their produce through a collective co-op, as well as in their own country market. We don't often have the opportunity to connect with the actual people who are producing our food, so this was a special treat.
One of the things that really inspired me was how passionate they were about their farm. You could feel the excitement and love in the voices of every family member we talked to. Even though farming is tough work, the Zittel family is proud of what they've built and loves being able to share their incredible produce with their local community. And the variety of what they grow!
We visited late in the season, so all that was left was pretty much squash and brussels sprouts, but they grow everything from lettuce, cabbage, strawberries, peppers, eggplant, sweet corn and more!
The tour of the Zittel farm is part of a larger program created by New York called the New York State Grown & Certified program. Essentially this program was created to benefit both the consumers and the growers; consumers will have a label certifying that the products they're purchasing are grown in New York, and are safe, environmentally friendly and high quality. On the farmer side, the program helps these operations (oftentimes family-run) take advantage of the growing demand for locally sourced produce and get their products in more consumers' hands. It's a win-win!
The farms do have to go through the certification process which means they're inspected for safe food handling and environmental stewardship and helps ensure their products meet the highest quality standards. As a New York resident myself, I love knowing the state is investing in a program to help me as a consumer find high quality, locally grown produce. I'm a huge advocate of eating seasonally as much as possible, and being able to not only eat seasonally but also support local farms? That's just icing on the cake for me.
If you want to learn more about the program, you can find more information right here. And if you live in New York, you can look for the New York State Grown & Certified labels at stores and in green markets in the spring of 2017!
Now….let's talk brussels sprouts!
As I mentioned before, this was a recipe that I first shared a few years back during the holidays and I decided it was time to revisit and give it a bit of an upgrade.
I didn't change much from the original recipe; we've still got tender, roasted brussels sprouts (which came from the lovely Zittel family!), fluffy white quinoa, toasted pecans, and sweet pomegranate seeds, but we've got lots more flavor thanks to a new and improved dressing.
Since much of the food that is served during the holidays tends to be on the not-so-healthy side, I always like to make I bring at least one nutritious dish to every gathering. Thanksgiving it was my quinoa stuffing and for Christmas, it's going to be this delightful Roasted Brussels Sprout Quinoa Salad.
My holidays are filled with raucous Italian laughter and seriously good eats, sometimes wildly unhealthy, but still amazingly delicious. Unfortunately, I can't partake anymore because all the traditional dishes we serve are filled with gluten, dairy and/or meat. That's why I'm all about the sides!
I'll happily pack my plate with all the side dishes and appetizers! Since most of the time these dishes are safe for me to eat, I end up just turning them into my actual meal. That way I don't have to worry about cooking a whole separate meal. And luckily for
And luckily for me, since I'm the one cooking these dishes most of the time, I find recipes like quinoa salads some of the easiest to whip up. Take this brussels sprout quinoa salad: only 30 minutes to make. I think it's exactly what your holiday table needs this year. Bright, flavorful, and festive!
More Cozy Quinoa Salad Recipes to try:
- Autumn Chopped Quinoa Salad with Apple Cider + Tahini-Sage Dressing
- Red Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash & Brussel Sprouts
- Kale + Shredded Brussels Sprout Quinoa Salad
- Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad
- Roasted Potato + Red Quinoa Salad
- Fall Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash and Apples
Roasted Brussels Sprout Quinoa Salad
- 2 lbs Brussels sprouts
- 3 cups cooked quinoa cooled
- 1 ½ cups toasted pecans
- Seeds from one large pomegranate
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes optional, for a little heat
- Fresh thyme/rosemary to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Cut the stems off the brussels sprouts, then slice them in half and add them to mixing bowl. (If your brussels sprouts are small enough, just roast them whole) Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the brussels sprouts to the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until lightly browned and softened. Flip them over halfway through the cooking process to ensure even cooking.
- While the brussels sprouts are cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients: the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, tahini, mustard, syrup and spices. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Add roasted brussels sprouts back to the mixing bowl followed by the quinoa, pecans and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently until the salad is fully combined. Season with more salt and pepper (and crushed red pepper if using). Garnish with fresh herbs.
- Either serve the salad warm or let it completely cool.
Thank you to Empire State Development for inviting me to visit the Zittel farm, for building more awareness for locally grown produce and for sponsoring this post. And thank YOU for continuing to support your local communities by purchasing as much locally grown, seasonal produce as you can. Your contributions to these farmers not only help the local economy but also our planet!
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Empire State Development. The opinions and text are all mines.