Roasted Onion Quinoa Azuki Salad

by Valerie on March 20, 2011 · 11 comments

Friday night, I went on strike. I came home from work around 8.30 and looked at my list of to-do’s:

  • Empty dishwasher
  • Make azuki bean salad
  • Make kale chips
  • Answer emails 
  • Prepare lunchbox to take to work tomorrow
  • Fold laundry

I emptied the dishwasher and then went on strike and watched DVR’ed episodes of Glee (eh) and Private Practice (which I really no longer like, yet am oddly loyal to).  Yes, I could have journaled, or read, or meditated, but I just wanted to watch TV.  Then I went to bed.  I was cranky and it had been a very long week, on the heels of another very long week.  March is always a busy season at my job because of regulatory filings.

A good night’s sleep helped immensely though. 

Yesterday morning, while at work, I knew I had to get myself home briefly to throw together said azuki bean salad very quickly for a dinner I was attending last night.  Plus, seeing as this is my submission for No Croutons Required and the Sweet or Savory Kitchen Challenge, both of which have azukis as this month’s theme, it had to be an azuki bean salad.  I had cooked azukis earlier in the week and had portioned them out in two cup increments in the fridge, so that part was easy.

I eventually raced home, and decided I had no time to look at recipes, so I made it up as I went along. I had to make enough to serve as a side for at least a dozen people, so I decided to bulk up the azukis I had in the fridge with quinoa (bonus, it cooks fast).  Since I had half a roasted yellow onion in the fridge, I decided to use that as the base of my flavors. I liked the idea of sweet gooey roasted onion with the brightness of citrus and apple cider vinegar and the crunch of carrots.  All in all, I think it turned out well, particularly considering the speed at which I prepared it.  Several people said it was good, and I enjoyed it as well.  I tasted it before adding any olive oil and thought it was delicious, but decided to add some extra-virgin olive oil to make it a little more decadent.  The nice thing about quinoa salads is that they are versatile and do not require oil to taste good, but also absorb any dressing nicely.

And if you are wondering why I had half a roasted onion in the fridge, that is because I had used half an onion in a recipe, and then had not needed it again so when I roasted some sweet potatoes a couple of days later, I wrapped the onion in foil and made that alongside.  I figured it would come in handy to flavor a salad dressing, or I could mash it with some roasted sweet potatoes for a creamy side dish.  Better yet, it would be easy to freeze if I did not get around to actually using it.  Roasting the onion does add some length of time to the recipe below, so feel free to make it the day before.  In fact, the quinoa and roasted onion could both be made ahead of time.  I do think this is one of those salads that benefits from some time sitting to allow the flavors to blend.  I made the salad around 2pm and by the time I served it at 6.30pm, the flavors had married together nicely.  This recipe would be great for a lunchbox as well.

Since I am having a hectic month, I am submitting this recipe to numerous blog events. See the list after the recipe.  Looking at this post it seems like I have many themes going – going on strike and also efficiency – roasting vegetables ahead of time, the speed of quinoa, having cooked dried beans, also ahead of time, and the fact I am submitting this recipe to so many blog events it is kind of embarrassing – hopefully you will indulge me though? Have a great Sunday. I am off to be in the wedding of a dear friend’s – in fact, that is her bowl you see in the picture below, as the salad was for a pre-wedding dinner at her house last night.

Speedy Quinoa Azuki Salad

Roasted Onion Quinoa Azuki Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Consious, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Oil-Free Option)

Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups, or about 12 side servings

  • 1/2 large yellow onion or 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (1-2 lemons, juiced, depending on the size of the lemons)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (1 small lime, juiced)
  • 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 0-4 Tbsps extra-virgin olive oil  (this salad can be made oil-free, while 4 Tbsps of olive oil will make it very rich)
  • 2 cups cooked azuki beans (or 1 can azukis)
  • 1/2 cup shredded or finely chopped carrots (about two large carrots, peeled)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsps sliced scallions (about 4 scallions) – you could use spring onions too
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preaheat oven to 400F.  Peel onion and wrap it in foil.  Roast for 30-45 minutes, until soft.  While the onion is roasting, cook quinoa according to package directions (I cooked it in 1 1/2 cups water in my rice cooker for about 25 minutes and then steamed it for an addition 10 minutes).  Set aside in a large bowl when ready.

Make dressing by combining lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt until salt dissolves.  Add desired amount of extra virgin-olive oil. Set aside.

Chop roasted onion finely (I used a mini-prep).  Combine with quinoa and azuki beans.  Add carrots, parsley and scallions.  Add dressing. Add freshly ground pepper to your taste.  Stir until well combined.  Taste and adjust seasonings.    

I am submitting this recipe to the following monthly blog events:



I am also submitting the recipe to these weekly events:

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Keelie Sheridan March 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Thanks for the recipe! And I've actually never roasted an onion- now I'll have to try! :)


2 J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Roasted onion sounds delicious in quinoa and bean salad!


3 gfe--gluten free easily March 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm

That looks terrific, Valerie! I always save partial onions and other veggies. Usually they are just the thing needed for a recipe. :-)

I had to chuckle at your comment about Private Practice. I feel the same way about it. I guess we keep hoping it will turn around and be as good as it was originally?

It was nice to be introduced to some of these roundups/events, too. Will have to check them out for sure!



4 Gena March 21, 2011 at 3:36 am

This dish might actually persuade my non-quinoa loving BF to love quinoa.


5 eliz@thesweetlife March 21, 2011 at 11:59 am

I used to love Private Practice, too, but it's just become too far-fetched for my liking!


6 Rosa's Yummy Yums March 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

A healthy and delicious salad! Yummy.




7 torwen March 23, 2011 at 12:40 am

Quinoa and azuki beans go together so well, a lovely salad.

Can you roast and freeze the onions? Would be a shame to use the oven for one onion.


8 Ricki March 23, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I haven't had a quinoa salad in ages–this looks like just the ticket! And I love that you made it up as you went along. Thanks for the reminder about all those events–I have participated in most at one time or another, but never all together! :)


9 Tasty Eats At Home April 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I love your efficiency – I need to adopt some of it! This salad sounds tasty.
Private Practice is a show I could never get into. Which is funny to me, since I watch Grey's Anatomy (and I feel the same way about it as you do about Private Practice), and I know the two shows cross over sometimes. But oh well. What can ya do?


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