Sunday, May 20, 2012

Royal Beet Salad

Let's get real with beets! Sometimes you just need to get creative with vegetables. They may not always be the most desirable by themselves, but when paired with the right flavors, they can take your taste buds to the moon!

Royal Beet Salad |

I had the day to myself to get errands done and play in my garden and kitchen. I planted the rest of my summer herbs and vegetables and got a little inspiration to experiment in the kitchen with a few beets that I got at the Farmer’s Market.

Royal Beet Salad |

Beets are full of amazing vitamins and minerals, the most notable is betalains, which gives them the bright, royal purple-reddish color. Betalains are said to have many health benefits including anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, fiber and antioxidant agents. It is also said to help with detoxification! 

Unfortunately, I don't like beets by themselves. However, with all the health benefits of this root vegetable, I was determined to come up with a recipe that highlights beets, but includes many other flavor combinations.

Royal Beet Salad |

Needless to say, I had a lot of free time yesterday, and just kept experimenting with flavors. It certainly paid off, because this was a phenominal salad and a delicious way to eat some healthy anti-inflammatory, detoxifying beets!

Royal Beet Salad

Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-50 minutes

4 small fresh beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Goat cheese
Truffle oil
Salt and pepper

Start by preheating an oven to 400F. Clean off the beets (and cut off the green stems if purchased this way). Place the whole beet with skins intact on a small, aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle the beets with olive oil and sea salt. Fold the foil over and seal tightly to create a pouch for the beets to cook in. This helps cook them evenly and makes for an easier clean up job. Place in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. 

Beets are flexible when it comes to cooking temperature and time, depending on size and freshness. Fresh beets cook quicker than older ones and smaller beets cook faster than larger ones. You can also put these into any temperature oven to cook (ranging from 350F to 425F), depending on if you are cooking something else in the oven.

While the beets are cooking, place the raw walnuts onto a small skillet over medium heat. Cook these for about 5 minutes, watching carefully. Once the walnuts start emitting a nice aroma, they are done. Set these aside.

In a small sauce pan, heat the vinegar over medium heat and bring to a slight boil. Cook this until it reduces by half and becomes thicker in consisency. Set this aside to cool.

Remove the beets from the oven when a fork easily pierces through. Once the beets are cooled enough to handle, peel them. I recommend wearing gloves to handle the cooked beets to avoid staining on your hands. The skin should just peel right off or you can use a small pairing knife to help peel.

To assemble the salad, split the spinach on the plates and top with the 
raisins, walnuts, beets (sliced or cut into small wedges), goat cheese and drizzle of the balsamic reduction. Drizzle with the oil and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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