Recently, I found myself early to the airport, hungry, searching for a lunch option that didn't resemble your typical fast food or food court offering. I stumbled upon a cafe offering a beet arugula salad similar to the recipe below. It was so tasty and satisfying that I've been thinking of recreating it ever since. I wanted to share with you two options: an easy and healthy accompaniment to your protein source at dinner, or you can toss 4 ounces of your favorite lean protein like grilled chicken or shrimp on it to make it a stand-alone meal.Whether or not you are a seasoned beet eater, here are some fun facts about beets: Beets are a root vegetable that is usually harvested in the fall. They are a good source of potassium which is helpful for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. They are high in betaine, an antioxidant that is present in the rich red hue of the vegetable. These compounds, along with the nitrates contained in beets, have been studied for their positive effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and cardiovascular health. In general, it is a wonderful idea to "eat with color", including an array of plant-based colors in your diet for the promotion of health and prevention of disease. Aim for at least two different produce colors at mealtimes; this salad fits that bill. I hope you enjoy it; you can't "beet" the taste in my opinion!Salad Ingredients:
- 6 medium (2 lbs) beets
- 5 oz (6 cups) baby arugula, rinsed and spun dry
- 4 oz or 1/2 cup feta cheese or goat cheese
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, lower sugar variety
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard (we love Grey Poupon brand)
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
Arugula Beet Salad
Serves: 6 as a side salad, 6 as a main course
Instructions:1) Roast your beets (may be roasted up to three days ahead): Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line the bottom of a Baking sheet with foil. Wrap each beat in a sheet of foil, wrapping tightly to seal and arrange the beets on the lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour or until the largest beet is easily pierced. Remove from oven, unwrap and allow them to cool to room temperature then peel the skins and slice into halves and then wedges. Pro tip: you can save yourself some time and buy already roasted beets in the refrigerated section of most produce departments.
- Toast 1/2 cup walnuts over medium heat in a skillet, tossing frequently until golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the arugula to a large mixing bowl then add remaining salad ingredients: sliced beets, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 cup toasted pecans and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
- In a mason jar, combine all dressing ingredients and shake well to combine and add to the salad to taste. If you are not serving the salad right away, shake the dressing again just before drizzling over the salad.
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