3 large beets (about 16-20 ounces)
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed very well
2 2/3 cup vegetable broth (or water plus veg. bouillon)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cup chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained)
4 – 6 clementines, satsumas, or other small seedless oranges (about 1/12 cups orange sections)
1/2 cup green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup slivered almonds (Optional, but good.)
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (see note)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F. (I use my toaster oven to save energy.) Wash each beet well and wrap it in aluminum foil. (You can wrap it first in parchment paper and then foil if you don’t want it coming into contact with the aluminum.) Bake for 50-60 minutes, until you can pierce a beet with a fork. Set aside to cool.
While the beets are cooking, cook the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and drain well. Heat a medium-size saucepan, add the quinoa, and toast it for a few minutes until much of the liquid is evaporated. Add the vegetable broth and garlic, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff and let cool.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, trim off the top and remove the skin by holding a beet under running water and rubbing the skin with your thumbs. Use a knife to peel off any stubborn patches.
Dice the beets. Add them and the chickpeas, clementines, green onions, and almonds to the quinoa.
Make the balsamic reduction: Put the balsamic and maple syrup in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it boils. Continue stirring until the volume reduces by about a third–it should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. If it’s too thick to pour once cool, return it to the heat and stir in more balsamic vinegar until it’s pourable. Pour it over the salad and stir well.
Refrigerate the salad until ready to serve.