Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Equinox Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, and Pecans

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Here's a little salad that's perfect for late winter / early spring, and / or for when you have only four days left before you (well, me actually) have to squeeze into a bikini.

I mentioned in my last post that Hubs and I had just been in New Orleans for 10 days, and now we are off to Mazatlan on Friday.  We are officially on a salad-only dinner regime until we leave. New Orleans is one of our favourite cities in the whole world, but low-cal it is not...from all of the deep fried food to the massive portions to the sweet alcoholic drinks, it's hard to come back without a few extra pounds to call your own.

For instance here's The Hubby looking unimpressed by the size of his dinner order, 'Catfish Dinner with a side of fries and onion rings.'

I just realized that this picture has a certain creepiness to it with the edits that I made.

But, it's FUN in New Orleans.

We got to throw beads from a Bourbon Street balcony on St. Patrick's Day, go on a haunted history pub crawl, visit a plantation, wear masks at a Mardi Gras themed event, enjoy lots of good food and drinks with friends, and go to the suburbs for the Louisiana Crawfish Festival.  The Hubby wants you to know that, 'red beans and rice didn't miss me' either,  Here are some pics, including one of my delicious Crawfish Bread that we waited in line for an hour for in heat that was comparable only to the surface of the sun (Louisiana is way hotter than Canada).
A pound of fresh crawfish
Crawfish a crawfish pizza pop!

The assortment of various deep fried food on a stick
After we were done, we went across the street to wait for a cab, and there happened to be a drive-thru bar, New Orleans Original Daiquiris.  Yes, you read that correctly - DRIVE-THRU BAR.  We popped in to see what it was all about and enjoy a frozen alcoholic drink.  We were fascinated, and took these pics:

Note the drive-thru window at the back of the picture

So yeah, we are still on salad week.  I came up with this one because I freaking love the combination of roasted beets and goat cheese, and wanted to throw in a few other healthy late wintery / early springy foods like radishes and fennel.  I also added some canned chickpeas and pecans for a bit of protein, red onion for bite, and some apple for a touch of sweetness and crispness.

The flavours all come together really nicely, and makes it the perfect dinner for those 'still not very warm but there's a light at the end of the tunnel' nights of early spring.  Does anyone else think that beets taste like dirt, but in a good way?

One Year Ago:  Creamy Roasted Onion, Garlic, and Bacon Soup
Two Years Ago:  Crispy Chicken with Green Curry Sauce

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

Spring Equinox Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese, and Pecans

Serves: 2

  • 2 or 3 beets, stems and leaves chopped off, but root intact
  • Olive oil (1 tablespoon + 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 ounces (142 grams) spring greens, (I use the container of 'Herb Salad Mix' at my grocery store, which has a mix of baby lettuces, red and green chard, mizuna, arugula, radicchio, baby spinach, parsley, dill, and cilantro)
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, stalks and thick outer skin removed, then shaved into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 small apple, cored, then thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
Preheat oven to 450 F.  Place the beets onto a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then wrap tightly.  Put package onto a baking sheet, and place into the heated oven.  Roast the beets for 1 hour, then remove from oven.  Plunge into a bowl of ice cold water, and peel with your hands (the skin should just about fall off because of the use of cold water).

Meanwhile, to make dressing, combine the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a container or jar with a lid.  Shake well and refrigerate until ready to use.  You will have more dressing than you need for this recipe, so use what you need for this salad, then save the rest for another salad.  Salad Salad Salad.

In a medium bowl, combine spring greens, radishes, fennel, pecans, onion, and chickpeas in a bowl.  Drizzle desired amount of dressing over top (save the rest for another time), then toss to combine.  Scoop onto two dinner plates.  Slice your beets and add to salad.  Top with apple and goat cheese.  Enjoy!



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