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Categories: Healthy eating, Salads, Vegetarian

Mixed greens salad with beets and pecans

When I was growing up in Connecticut, pecans were not on my radar. Maybe I'd tasted pecan pie, and if I did, I surely loved it; when you're young it's difficult not to like anything as sweet as pecan pie. ... Read more

Active work time: 15 minutes | Total preparation time: 1 hour | Serves 4 to 6
Note: I probably make this salad more often than any other in fall and winter. There are a number of wonderful flavors and textures working alongside each other--sweet beets and pungent greens, soft goat cheese and crunchy pecans, all doused with a nutty dressing.

Salad

  • 4 beets, such as red, golden, Chioga or a combination
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound salad greens, preferably a mixture of baby spring greens and arugula
  • 1/3 cup broken pecans
  • 1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, tarragon, parsley

Step 1Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Step 2Cut away the beet leaves by slicing across the top end of the beet, about 1/2 inch above where the stems and root meet (save the leaves for another purpose). Scrub the beets under warm water with a vegetable brush. Place them in a baking dish, and add about 1/4 inch of water.

Step 3Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets. Medium beets take about 45 minutes, small ones 30, and really large ones take an hour. Test for doneness by sticking a knife into a beet. It should slide in easily. Remove the beets from the heat and allow to cool. When the beets are cool, slip their skins off by rubbing with your fingers. Cut the beets in half lengthwise, then slice or cut them in small wedges.

Step 4Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan or stirring the nuts, until they begin to smell toasty and are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer them immediately to a plate or bowl.

Step 5Toss the beets with the salad greens, pecans, goat cheese and fresh herbs.

Dressing

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed, optional
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Step 1Mix together the balsamic and Sherry vinegars, salt and pepper to taste, garlic and mustard. Whisk in the walnut and olive oils. Taste; if you want the dressing to be a bit more tart, add another teaspoon of vinegar. Toss with the salad and serve.

Each of 6 servings:
233 calories; 106 mg sodium; 4 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.71 grams fiber.
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