Last month, I joined a produce delivery service that drops a cooler filled with organic and sometimes local produce on my doorstep every 2 weeks. I did it for 2 reasons: first, I’m trying to get my kids excited about fresh foods (and they love watching for the delivery truck) and second, I’m in the middle of a serious effort to overhaul my eating habits to include more fruits, veggies and whole foods.
Last week, I found a bunch of beets in my box. I’ve never been a big fan of beets. My early memories of beets consist entirely of the canned variety. I would let the beets sit on my plate until absolutely last, dying everything in their wake pink before I would finally take my required 3 bites of cold, slimy yuckiness. As a grownup, I’ve never willingly eaten beets again with the exception of beet juice, which is quite good. (Especially beet-apple-carrot-ginger juice. Mmmmmm.)
A week after the delivery, I was reminded that the fresh beets were still sitting in my fridge. I texted a friend who suggested the following dish, and I can now say that I have a new appreciation for freshly roasted beets. They are sweet, earthy and have a great firm texture for dressing up a fresh salad.
To roast the beets: scrub the outer surface of the beets well to remove any dirt. Chop the greens off the top. Then place the scrubbed beets in a foil packet and drizzle with a bit of good quality olive oil. Place in a preheated oven at 375-400F and roast in sealed foil packet until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork. My beets took about 50 minutes at 375F. Open the foil carefully; the beets will release some of their beautiful pink juice which can stain some surfaces (and fingers, and clothes). Set beets aside to cool.
In a bowl, place a good handful or 2 of mixed greens. Top with half a segmented orange, 2 Tbs crumbled goat cheese, 1 handful unsalted walnuts, toasted, and 1/2 to 1 whole chopped roasted beet. I toasted the walnuts on a tray in my toaster oven, but you can also use a dry skillet. Watch carefully! Walnuts can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds.
The dressing is simple: simply mix a couple Tbs of olive oil with a few splashes of aged Balsamic vinegar and whisk vigorously before drizzling over the salad.
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