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Roasted Beets with Quinoa, Frisée and Queso Fresco

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
45 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins

Chef notes

I love this salad because it hits on all the textural and flavor elements you want in a great side dish. It has tender braised beets, crunchy quinoa, crumbly cheese and crunchy sunflower seeds. It's a little salty, slightly sweet and each bite keeps you coming back for more.

Technique tip: Use a paper towel to rub the skins off the cooked beets.


  • 2 large red beets
  • 8 baby candy strip beets
  • 8 baby yellow beets
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 heads frisée
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste



Preheat oven to 300°F. Place washed beets by color in separate roasting pans.


Cover the beets with water and place a sprig of thyme in each pan.


For the red beets, add 1 cup of red wine vinegar and cover with foil. For the yellow and candied strip beets, add 1 cup of white wine vinegar to each pan and cover with foil.


Place the pans in the oven. The red large beets they will need 30-40 minutes or until fork tender and the baby beets they will need 20 minutes. Set aside and cool.


Once cool enough to handle peel each beet.


Using a mandolin, thinly slice the red beets and shingle them on the place in a circle pattern. Cut the yellow and candy strip beets in half lengthwise.


In a medium pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add quinoa to pot and cook until it sprouts, about 25 minutes. Drain if needed, and place in fridge until cool.


Cook the quinoa an air fryer, or on a sheet pan in the oven, until it's crispy and crunchy.


In a mixing bowl combine frisée, sunflower seeds, baby beets and mix with olive oil and salt. Place on top of red beet slices and sprinkle crumbled queso fresco and crispy quinoa.