Wheatless Wednesday – Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad

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If tomatoes are the star in summer, beets are a bold and intense showgirl.  Together they are a showstopper!   Fresh and easy, pretty enough for a party, this Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad is a Summer Showcase!  Sun-ripened tomatoes in reds and yellows paired with dark-ruby roasted beets, resting on a bed of mixed greens and topped with crumbled feta and fresh herbs is a pure delight.  I love the simplicity of this five ingredient salad drizzled with a simple vinaigrette.  Each flavor is strong enough to stand on it’s own, and tossed together they make a colorful and flavorful salad, good enough for company but tasty enough for family.

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Photo Credit: Dr Oz

Roasted beets are not to be compared to the tasteless canned variety.  Roasting them intensifies their flavor as none of the juice is lost in boiling water. Beets are very low in calories, contain no cholesterol and small amount of fat and they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.  All of that glorious color has to mean something!

I feel like a word of caution is in order here.  As I mentioned, dark beets have a vivid color and when roasted with olive oil, some of the escaped juices are quite vibrantly red, which I found out looks remarkably like blood when spilled.  Yes, I tipped the foil and juices leaked out; on the counter, down the cabinet and on the floor.  Even my bare feet looked like they were splattered in blood.  It looked like someone cut off their arm in right in my kitchen.  Note to self for next gory Halloween costume…  Also, beet juice can stain wood cutting boards, so I recommend plastic washable cutting surfaces or a ceramic plate.  Otherwise, beets are lovely.

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Do we even need to talk about tomatoes?  If you aren’t convinced, click  HERE to read how eating tomatoes can make you healthier.  If you love beets but not tomatoes so much, here are a few other Goodmotherdiet salads that were also inspired by beets:

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Beet and Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

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Layered Beet Salad with Glazed Pecans and Citrus Vinaigrette

Beet Peach Salad13

Roasted Beet Salad with Ripe Peaches and Goat Cheese

TIPS:  If you were lucky enough to buy beets with the greens still attached, don’t cut them off and discard them.  The greens are delicious raw, thinly sliced into salads or sauteed and stirred into pasta or prepared any way you would use chard, kale or any other dark leafy green.  They have a slightly bitter taste that mellows with cooking and adds flavor and nutrients to your meal.  Beets can be roasted a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated until ready.  Note that beet juice stains porous surfaces, like wood cutting boards.  Use non-porous surfaces for preparation and slicing.

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ROASTED BEET AND TOMATO SALAD

1 lb beets (3-4 medium)
2 lbs tomatoes, mixed
1 bunch arugula or mixed greens
3 oz feta, sliced or crumbled(optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup olive oil+
1/4 cup apple cider or red wine vinager
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut away beet greens without cutting into the skin and place beets on a large piece of foil, separately or together.  Drizzle with olive oil and tightly close foil packet. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 75 minutes.

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  • When cool, use a paper towel to remove skins.

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  • Slice into rounds on a plastic cutting board or plate.

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  • Slice large tomatoes into 1/4′ rounds, and halve cherry tomatoes.

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  • Place greens on the bottom of a serving platter and arrange the beets and tomatoes on top.

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  • Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Top tomatoes with feta, cilantro, basil and drizzle with dressing.  Serve with more herbs and feta on the side.

Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 lb beets (3-4 medium)
2 lbs tomatoes, mixed
1 bunch arugula or mixed greens
3 oz feta, sliced or crumbled
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup olive oil+
1/4 cup apple cider or red wine vinager
salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut away beet greens without cutting into the skin and place beets on a large piece of foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and tightly close foil packet. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 75 minutes.
  • When cool, use a paper towel to remove skins and slice into rounds on a plastic cutting board or plate.
  • Slice large tomatoes into 1/4′ rounds, and halve cherry tomatoes.
  • Place greens on the bottom of a serving platter and arrange the beets and tomatoes on top.
  • Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  • Top with feta, cilantro, basil and drizzle with dressing.
  • Serve with more fresh herbs and feta on the side.

Seared Scallops with Zucchini “Pasta”

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Seared scallops with zucchini pasta

Seared Scallops with Zucchini “Pasta” and Roasted Beet Salad

Last summer, spent at our Maine house, was a balancing act when it came to dinner, which we rotated among friends and took turns hosting.  I had just begun the Good Mother Diet, my husband was protein heavy and mostly carb free and our friend, Rick went back to our ancestral roots with the Paleo diet.  Well here is a meal that satisfies all three!  The pasta is not real pasta, but noodles made by slicing zucchini into long, skinny spaghetti-like ribbons.  For this a mandolin works best, however, you can also use a grater, zester or potato peeler but it won’t look as nice.  If you want it to look even more like spaghetti, you can peel the zucchini before cutting it but I prefer to keep the skins (and vitamins) in the dish.

This is my favorite way to prepare beets.  Roasting, rather than boiling, intensifies the color and flavor, plus it is by far the easiest way to remove the skin.  Using varieties with different colors makes for a prettier dish.  If making the entire meal, start by roasting the beets since that can take a half hour or so, depending on the size of your beets and get the zucchini ‘pasta’ going.  The beets can be made ahead of time and will last in the refrigerator several days.  The actual cooking time of everything else is pretty short and should be done just before serving.  Paleos, like Rick, should omit the pistachios, cheese and seasoning/salt.

Serves 4

Beet Salad

Roasted Beet Salad

4 beets

1-2 Tbsn olive oil

1 head butter lettuce (washed and separated)

Vinaigrette ( ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsn Dijon Mustard, salt and pepper)

Feta (optional)

  • Cut leafy stalks off the beets, taking care not to cut into the flesh. (You want to keep all the juice inside).  Reserve leaves for another use or chop them and saute in olive or butter with garlic and serve on the side.

raw beets Beet packages

  • Wash and dry beets but don’t peel them. (The peel will slide off easily after they are roasted).  Lay them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Brush them with olive oil and fold the foil up and seal into a leak-proof package, or you can use a covered baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.  Larger beets can take up to an hour, so check often. Be careful when you open the pouches, as they will be very steamy and can burn your fingers.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.  Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off by hand or with a papertowel.  (You will be surprised how easy it is).
  • Slice and serve with lettuce and sliced apple.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and top with feta, if desired.

Roasted Beets

Seared Sea Scallops and Zucchini “Pasta”

1 lb large sea scallops

2 Tbsn avocado oil (or another oil that does well in high heat)

1/2 tsp creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s) or just salt and pepper

¼ cup white wine

4 – 6 zucchini (depending on size)

1 Tbsn olive oil plus 1 Tbsn butter (or all olive oil)

¼ cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (Optional)

2 oz parmesan, grated or thinly sliced Optional)

  • Using a mandolin, cut the unpeeled zucchini into thin pasta sized ribbons. (A grater or potato peeler will work as well). Place the ‘pasta’ strands on a papertowel and sprinkle with salt. . Cover
    with a papertowel and press down gently.  Let them ‘sweat’ for about 30 minutes to remove the extra moisture.

zucchini noodlesPistachios

  • Toast the chopped pistachios in a small, dry pan on medium heat for a few minutes (until you can smell them cooking). Let cool.
  • Heat olive oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Turn off the heat and add ‘pasta’ and pistachios. Toss gently.  Top with parmesan if desired..
  • Wash and dry scallops.  Put them in a bowl with the oil and seasoning.  Gently mix until scallops are coated. The oil should not pool in the bottom of the bowl.  Pour off excess oil that doesn’t mix back in. The scallops won’t sear if there is too much moisture or oil.
  • Heat a cast iron, or other skillet, on medium high to high heat.  The pan should be very hot.  Cook scallops in a single layer, without crowding.  You may have to cook them in two batches.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn and cook the other side 2 minutes.
  • Remove scallops from the pan.  Add wine to the hot pan and stir to deglaze and reduce the liquid to make a sauce. If you overcook and too much liquid goes away, just add a bit of water.
  • To serve, place ¼ of the ‘pasta’ mixture on each plate.  Top with ¼ of the scallops.  Drizzle with wine sauce.

Seared scallops with zucchini pasta