Meatless Monday – Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

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Roasting beets intensifies their natural flavors and jewel toned colors.  Slicing them into rounds creates a gorgeous base for creating a spectacular but simple salad.  I topped the roasted beets with crumbled goat cheese and pistachios with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. The goat cheese adds a creamy tang that complements the earthy beets and the pistachios provide a satisfying salty crunch. This is the perfect departure from the traditional tossed green salad, although you could lay the sliced beets on top of a bed of baby greens.  Other good additions would be citrus slices or segments, pomegranate seeds, thinly sliced red onion, avocado, burrata or sliced fresh mozzarella.

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The intense colors of BEETS are not just for show. The pigments that give them their rich colors are phytonutrients called betalains. which are either red or yellow, and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  Beets give you a big bang for the buck.  They are vitamin rich, including iron, vitamin C and B6, while also low in calories (35 calories in a 2 inch beet), no cholesterol and almost no fat, so they can be your guilty pleasure.  Speaking of guilty pleasures, this Four Pepper Goat Cheese from Trader Joe’s was a nice extra touch.  However, use any cheese that you prefer.  A great vegan option would be using one of the soft cheeses by Miyoko’s Kitchen which is starting to get traction outside of the Bay Area, so check them out!  I have good luck finding it in Whole Foods Markets.

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Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts.  They are delicious and easy to use if you buy them pre-shelled.  Although this salad uses only a small amount of them, they still contribute more than just flavor and crunch. Pistachios have protein and fiber and as a bonus, contain fewer calories and more potassium and vitamin K per serving than other nuts.

TIPS: The beets take about an hour to roast and then they have to cool, at least enough to handle.  Luckily, they can be roasted a day or so ahead of time, peeled and refrigerated until you are ready to use them.  Or you can sometimes buy already roasted beets for a super short cut.  Once the beets are cooked and cooled, the salad is ready in minutes. Enjoy!

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BEET SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PISTACHIOS

  • 4-6 beets, preferably different varieties (red, golden or chiogga)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (toasted almonds, walnuts or pecans)
  • 2 oz (2-3 Tbsn) goat cheese (or other crumbly cheese like feta)
  • 1 Tbsn fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

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  • Cut off beet greens and save for another use.  (They are delicious sautéed in butter or olive oil with salt and pepper} Take care not to cut into the beets or you will lose some of the juice in cooking.  Leave the root or ‘tail’ end.  It’s easy to pinch off after it’s cooked.  If you must remove it, leave a short tail to minimize juice seepage. (I absent mindedly cut mine off without thinking and they turned out fine but a slightly harder clean up.)

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  • Spray a baking dish with olive oil and place the beets inside.  Spray or drizzle them with olive oil.  Cover tightly with foil. For an even easier clean up, line the bottom of the pan with foil too.  Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for about an hour.  They should be easily pierced with a fork but not soft and mushy. Remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Remove the beet skins with a papertowel and pinch off the stem and tail.

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  • Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the beets and place on a platter in a single layer.

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  • Here is your opportunity to be artistic.  I recommend slicing your golden beets first to prevent having to wash the mandolin between colors. Warning:  the red beets will dye anything they come into contact with, so don’t use anything with a porous surface (like wood).

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  • Roughly chop the pistachios and parsley and sprinkle them on top of the beets. Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle it as well.

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Whisk the oil and vinegar together (or combine in a shaker).  Season with salt and pepper to taste (I usually use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper).  Drizzle over beets and serve with remaining dressing on the side.

 

 

 

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 4-6 beets, preferably different varieties (red, golden or chiogga)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 2 oz (2-3 Tbsn) goat cheese (or other crumbly cheese like feta, or gorgonzola)
  • 1 Tbsn fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut off beet greens and save for another use.  (They are delicious sautéed in butter or olive oil with salt and pepper} Take care not to cut into the beets or you will lose some of the juice in cooking.  Leave the root or ‘tail’ end.  It’s easy to pinch off after it’s cooked.  If you must remove it, leave a short tail to minimize juice seepage.
  2. Spray a baking dish with olive oil and place the beets inside.  Spray or drizzle them with olive oil. Cover tightly with foil. For an even easier clean up, line the bottom of the pan with foil too.  Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for about an hour.  They should be easily pierced with a fork but not over soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Remove the beet skins with a papertowel and pinch off the stem and tail.
  4. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the beets and place on a platter in a single layer.  Here is your opportunity to be artistic.  I recommend slicing your golden beets first to prevent having to wash the mandolin between colors. Warning:  the red beets will dye anything they come into contact with, so don’t use anything with a porous surface (like wood).
  5. Roughly chop the pistachios and parsley and sprinkle them on top of the beets. Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle it as well.
  6. Whisk the oil and vinegar together (or combine in a shaker).  Season with salt and pepper to taste (I usually use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper).  Drizzle over beets and serve with remaining dressing on the side.

 

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

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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.

Wheatless Wednesday – Beet and Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese & Pine Nuts

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Citrus is here!  I love eating with the seasons, especially when nature provides such colorful abundance.  Right now citrus is at it’s best and, for a short time, blood oranges are available.  So take advantage!  I paired citrus – oranges from my tree, which are surprisingly sweet and juicy this year in spite of the drought we are having in California, blood oranges and grapefruit – with golden and red beets.  This is the time of year for root vegetables as well, and together they make a spectacularly colorful presentation.  Topped with creamy goat cheese, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of a savory-sweet balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is a sensory delight!

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Beets are funny little root veggies, rather on the homely side with their tough skins and little ‘mouse’ tails (root end) until you cut them open to find their jewel-like interiors.  The greens, on the other hand, can be quite lovely.  So looking at these gorgeous beet greens, I knew I had to  make something with them.  Often I saute them with butter and garlic for a delicious side dish and if you don’t overcook them, they keep their brilliant colors. This time, however, I wanted to make more of a main course.  When I spotted the 10 eggs on my counter fresh from my next door chickens, I decided to make a frittata which did not disappoint.  Recipe will post tomorrow but here is a preview:

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Okay, back to the Beet and Citrus Salad, which actually pairs nicely with the beet top frittata by the way.  The intense colors of this salad are a visual indicator of how nutritious this salad really is.  Roasted beets are rich and intense in flavor but also loaded with vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants.  We all know that citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C but they also contain an impressive list of other essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

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TIPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS: Beets can be roasted a day or so ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.  I like to sprinkle a bit of micro greens over the top of the salad to add freshness without covering all the bright colors, however, a good alternative would be to place the beets and citrus on a bed of greens. Arugula or baby spinach would be good choices.  Toasted pine nuts add a nice buttery crunch but roasted pistachios would also make a nice alternative. Non goat cheese fans can substitute feta or just omit the cheese and let the vivid colors stand on their own.

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BEET AND CITRUS SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE

1 bunch red beets(3 large or 4 small)
1 bunch golden beets (3 large or 4 small)
1 orange
2 blood oranges (if available, or substitute any other citrus)
1 pink grapefruit
3 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup micro greens (optional)

Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey, agave nector or sugar (scant teaspoon or to taste)
1/3 cup olive oil

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  • Cut beet greens from beets leaving a half inch of stem remaining.  Do not cut into the beets.  Rinse, dry and place beets on a square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and close the foil so no steam will escape.

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  • Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until they are easy to pierce with a fork.

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  • Let cool.  Using a papertowel, peel the skins from the beets and pinch or cut the beet tops to remove.

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  • Cut the top and bottom off of the orange and the blood oranges, then cut  downward to remove the peel and pith and work your way around the fruit.

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  •  Slice into rings

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  • Repeat the process with the grapefruit, except that once the peel and pith are removed, use your knife to separate the tough membrane from the segments.  For my wordsmith friends, these membrane free sections are called ‘supremes’ and they are worth the extra work.

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  • Dry toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown and aromatic, several minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Slice the beets into rounds and place on a serving dish.  Top with citrus and micro greens.

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  • Sprinkle with goat cheese and pine nuts

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  • Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together and drizzle over beet and citrus.

Beet and Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

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

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1 bunch red beets(3 large or 4 small)
1 bunch golden beets (3 large or 4 small)
1 orange
2 blood oranges (if available, or substitute any other citrus)
1 pink grapefruit
3 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup micro greens (optional)

Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey, agave nector or sugar (scant teaspoon or to taste)
1/3 cup olive oil

  • Cut beet greens from beets leaving an inch remaining.  Do not cut into the beets.  Rinse, dry and place beets on a square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and close the foil so no steam will escape.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until they are easy to pierce with a fork.
  • Let cool.  Using a papertowel, peel the skins from the beets and pinch or cut the beet tops to remove.
  • Cut the top and bottom off of the orange and the blood oranges, then cut  downward to remove the peel and pith and work your way around the fruit.  Then cut into rings
  • Repeat the process with the grapefruit, except that once the peel and pith are removed, use your knife to separate the tough membrane from the segments.
  • Dry toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown and aromatic, several minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Slice the beets into rounds and place on a serving dish
  • Top with citrus
  • Sprinkle with micro greens, goat cheese and pine nuts
  • Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together and drizzle over beet and citrus.

Meatless Monday – Roasted Beet Salad with Ripe Peaches and Goat Cheese

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Is it a coincidence that fresh tomatoes ripe from the vine or juicy, just picked peaches taste especially good in summer or is it nature’s design to give us what we need?  I was thumbing through some cooking magazines admiring gorgeous photos of carmelized tomatoes and 10 ways to use fruit when I came across an article, “In Season For a Reason:”, by Ellie Krieger in CookFresh Magazine that claims our bodies are ‘calling for them’, meaning seasonal veggies.  “Not only do summer vegetables taste better and have a higher nutritional value, in season produce is in sync with our nutritional needs; it contains specific nutrients that replenish and protect us in the hot summer months”. Summer’s juicy fresh fruits and vegetables help keep us hydrated (20 percent of our water intake comes from the food we eat) and are rich in anti-oxidants, just when we need them most. Specifically, antioxidants like lycopene, vitamin C and beta-carotene help protect our skin from the sun by neutralizing damage to skin cells caused by the sun’s UV rays. Potassium, which we lose when we sweat, is also found in many summer vegetables. I wonder if winter vegetables give us what we need in winter too?

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I like combining seasonal fruits and vegetables, especially in salads.  I often toss orange or grapefruit sections into my salads to give them  a sweet and tangy boost. Today’s salad combines fresh, roasted beets, ripe peaches and arugula topped with goat cheese and pistachios. If I had them I would have added a few halved dark red Bing cherries or strawberries which are also in season. There is something about the combination of sweet and salty is really satisfying.  Right now with peaches in season, they are plentiful, delicious and less expensive at the height of the season! If you have the grill going, you can just halve and pit them and stick them on the grill for a few minutes to slightly caramelize them or just cut them up fresh and delicious.

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Like their intense color would suggest, beets are big on antioxidants, and have cancer and heart disease-fighting properties, as well as a host of vitamins and minerals. including iron.  Roasting them brings out a more intense flavor and gorgeous color since nothing is released into water, as happens with boiling.  If you slice them vertically, you  may get heart shapes, which if you’re my pinterest friend, you know I collect hearts found in nature so couldn’t resist this picture.  Too pretty!  Don’t throw away the beets tops.  They actually have more flavonoid antioxidants and vitamins than the beet roots themselves, including Vitamin A.  They can be chopped and sautéed with a bit of olive oil and garlic for a delicious side dish similar to chard or mustard greens.  The beets can be roasted a day or two beforehand and stored in the refrigerator until you need them.  Other than roasting the beets (which is easy but takes time), this is a very fast and easy meal to throw together, nice and colorful too!

Roasted Beet Salad with Ripe Peaches and Goat Cheese

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2-3 raw beets
1-2 peaches
1 bunch baby arugula
1/4 cup pistachios (or toasted pine nuts)
2 oz fresh goat cheese (optional)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsn fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay beets on aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Don’t remove the stem or tail.  Wrap foil into a pouch and bake until the beets are fork tender, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

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  • Let the beets cool, at least enough to handle, and remove the skins, stem and tail.  I like to use paper towels so my fingers don’t turn red.  Set aside and let them cool to room temperature, then slice.  I would recommend using a non-porous cutting board, since the juice from the beets stains everything it touches, including your hands.

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  • Wash, remove the pit and slice the peaches.  I like the skin but if you don’t, then remove the peel before slicing.
  • Coarsely chop the pistachios.

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  • Place the arugula in the bottom of  a large serving bowl or platter. Add the sliced beets and peaches.

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  • Top with pistachios and goat cheese.

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  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper and pour over the salad before serving.

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Wheatless Wednesday – Layered Beet Salad with Glazed Pecans & Citrus Vinaigrette

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I have a love affair with all food towered, stacked and layered, the taller the better.  There is something artistic and beautiful about the stark color contrast of the layers, each with it’s distinct flavor and character.  I know, I know,  food is to be eaten and not just looked at.  I also know that my creation will be destroyed the second it’s put on the table.  I’m okay with that.  I actually like the deconstruction process almost as much as the creative.  A certain amount of satisfaction can be derived from wrecking cool things, perhaps harkening back to our childhood days when we spent time building elaborate sand castles and then stomping them into oblivion.

This colorful salad was inspired by my cousin (by marriage), Joey, who is a fantastic and creative cook.  At a recent event, we were swapping kitchen stories, as people who like to cook are wont to do, and he passed along this clever method for layering beets and goat cheese.  Any soft cheese, even cream cheese, will work if you don’t like or have goat cheese.  I like to roast beets, rather than boiling or steaming them, as roasting intensifies the color and the flavor.  After roasting you have gloriously colored beets which can be sliced up and served in salads or simply drizzled with oil and vinegar and eaten alone.  Layering the beets with soft cheese elevates two simple ingredients into a beautiful and delicious work of art.  If you don’t have the time, or the inclination though, just combine all ingredients and toss with vinaigrette.  I love the salty, sweet crunch that the glazed pecans add to the salad.  For this dish I cooked them to almost burning to add a slightly  smokey flavor that complements the goat cheese.  When combined with the light citrus dressing, the flavors are divine!  The  beet slices would make good appetizers on their own, if made with small beets, as would the glazed pecans.

 

Layered Beet Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

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2 large or 3 small beets
1/4 cup olive oil
8 oz goat cheese or cream cheese (plain or herbed)
3 cups mixed greens
glazed pecans (recipe below)
citrus vinaigrette (recipe below)
 
Herbs for Goat Cheese(optional)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 

 

  • Rinse beets and pat dry. Do not remove tops or stems (you don’t want to lose any juice). To roast, you can either wrap them in aluminum foil or place in a covered glass dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and cook at 425 degrees for about an hour (or until you can easily pierce with a fork).  Larger beets may take longer.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

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  • When the beets are completely cool, peel the skin with a paper towel and remove the top and tail with a knife.

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  • Goat cheese should be at room temperature for best results.   If you would like you can add parsley, chives, thyme and black pepper to the goat cheese and mix to combine.
  • To assemble the beet towers, slice beets crosswise into 1/4 inch rounds, keeping them in order.
  • Place the bottom round on a platter and spread with spoonful of goat cheese.  Cover with a beet round and repeat until the beet has been reassembled.

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  • Wrap the beets tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight.

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  • Remove beet towers from the refrigerator and carefully unwrap.  Slice each tower vertically to get lovely striped slices. Wipe knife between each slice and use a spatula to transfer them to plates.

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  • Toss greens in vinaigrette and divide greens evenly onto four plates.
  • Arrange a couple of slices of beet on each plate.
  • Top with pecans if desired.

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Glazed Pecans

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1/4 white sugar)
1 Tbsn butter or coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsn water
1 1/2 cup pecan halves (or walnut)
  • Combine sugar, butter, water and salt in a large skillet and stir over medium heat until butter is melted.
  • Add pecans and cook, stirring constantly,making sure pecans are evenly coated,  for 5-7 minutes.
  • Spread pecans in single layer on parchment paper and cool completely.

VARIATIONS:  To make pecans for snacking add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.  For a sweeter, dessert topping add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or dash of cinnamon.  You can even substitute the white sugar for brown sugar for more of a carmely ‘turtle’ type result (great over ice cream!).

Citrus Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
1/2 cup avocado oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Whisk all ingredients together.  Drizzle over salad and toss.

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