Beet it, just beet it…

No one wants to be defeated! Or at least I am aiming not to be defeated when it comes to posting on this blog! I’m baaaaaacckkk!! :::echoes:::

Hello?

It has been a while since I have blogged a good recipe – mostly due to a job change and and unusual schedule in which I don’t cook dinner much.  However, I am constantly finding and making new recipes that I just can’t let that get in the way anymore.

Oh yeah and in the year since I blogged last, I finished my Bachelor of Science in Dietetics!  An internship should be on the way soon, I hope.

Back to the recipe.  This one is completely my own that I made when I got inspired by the beets in the produce section.  I had always heard that you could use both the beet and the beet greens, but I had never done so.

I knew I loved roasted beets, so I started there.  Then the idea of a salad using the greens sounded only logical and thus the Beet, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Salad was born.

Beets are root vegetables that contain betalains – phytonutrients that are also responsible for their coloring.  However, these betalains can be damaged during heating, so it is best to cook the beets with the skin on to preserve these precious anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.  Beets are also an excellent source of folate, a very good source of potassium, and a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, copper, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. In other words, a welcome contribution to just about any diet.

The other handy thing about roasting beets is that the oil used during roasting is infused with the extra beet juice and can be used on the salad. Reuse of ingredients? Check. Use of nutrients that would otherwise be lost? Check.

Beet, Mushroom & Gorgonzola Salad

by Megan Salazar

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of Beets (about 3-4 medium beets)
  • 6 cups of spinach
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. container of Gorgonzola cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Remove stems from beets, save greens for later.  On a large piece of aluminum foil, place washed beets, olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Fold the foil over the beets, crimping the sides closed to ensure the steam remains inside.
  3. Place foil-wrapped beets in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the largest beets is fork tender.
  4. While the beets are roasting, chop or tear the beet leaves into bite-size pieces.  Mix with the spinach, mushrooms and cheese.
  5. Once the beets are done roasting, let them cool until they are cool to the touch.  Using a paper towel, rub the skins off.  Chop into 1/2 inch chunks and mix into salad.
  6. Combine the vinegar with the remaining oil in foil, plus more as needed. Drizzle over salad mixture and toss.

Makes 3-4 main dish servings or 8 side salad portions.

Salad days

Summer is quickly coming to an end (:::sob!:::) and so is summer produce (bigger sob!).  The propane for the grill is quickly waning, the sun is fading sooner, and the trees are just starting to change colors.  Are you crying yet?

While all of these may be true, it is never too late to make a good salad.  Turn that grill on one last time and pick those still ripe veggies from the garden.  Even if it isn’t summer, salads are a great addition to a well-rounded diet any time of year.  Add a piece of good bread, seasonal fruit or a baked potato for a rounded meal.

The great thing about salads is that they are easily adaptable to tastes, budgets, and seasonal availability.  Also, they allow the maker to tap into their inner chef and be creative!  Following are some of my favorite mixes:

Southwest Salad

Ingredients:

2-3 cups romaine or spinach

1/2 cup fresh or canned, drained corn

1/3-1/2 cup black beans

1 tomato, diced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 avocado, sliced or diced

1 chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled

Dressing: mixture of ranch and barbecue sauce, about 1/4 cup

Spinach and Strawberry Side Salad

Ingredients:

2-3 cups baby spinach leaves

2/3 cup sliced strawberries

1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing (sounds weird, but it is good!)

The “Nutmeg”

(This is one that I continually make and maybe change up a few ingredients)

Ingredients:

2-3 cups spinach or baby greens

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 tomato, diced

1/2 cucumber, halved and sliced [or] 2 oz. sliced mushrooms

1 small can of cooked chicken [or] 1 can of tuna

2-3 Tbsp. sliced almonds [or] 2-3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette – to your liking

As this last one shows, it really is up to your imagination and taste!  There are many more ingredients you can add as well – mandarin oranges, zucchini, squash, navy beans, beets, artichokes, chickpeas …. the list goes on!

What kind of salads do you like to make?

To your health,

M