Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

Despite feeling a little bit like Dwight Schrute every time I eat one, I adore beets. I’ve only ever eaten them at a restaurant or out of a can, so roasting fresh beets was high on my list of new cooking skills to master.

It’s pretty simple, actually. Just pull off the greens, lightly scrub the skin, wrap each beet individually in tinfoil, and roast until tender. Preparing beets this way brings out incredible sweetness and makes them a perfect addition to salads, or perhaps just eaten by the spoonful.

Plus, the color is absolutely beautiful! Even if it makes your kitchen look a bit gruesome.

Beets!

Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

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Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

  • 4 medium beets
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 oz. baby arugula, rinsed and dried
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F. Remove tops from beets, scrub them lightly under water, and dry. Wrap each beet in a square of tinfoil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 50-70 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven, unwrap each beet, and let stand for 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Carefully peel beets using a knife or vegetable peeler, and cut each one in half. Slice each half into about 6 wedges.

Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the warm beets with about half of the vinaigrette. Toss the remaining vinaigrette (or however much you desire) with the arugula. Place arugula on a platter or in a bowl and top with the almonds, goat cheese, and beets. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6.

Source: Slightly adapted from Foolproof by Barefoot Contessa.

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

Alrighty, friends, here’s the final answer for my first composite recipe challenge!

The grand prize (of all bragging rights) goes to Erin for correctly guessing that I was making potato salad. She actually made her guess within minutes of the homemade mayo post. Either she’s a super genius, or I need to get more creative. Or both. :)

So yes, I’m channeling warm weather with a old picnic standby, which was much-needed this week as the snow continued to fall. Nothing lifts my spirits more than sunny egg yolks and bright, tangy dill. Now please excuse me while I go search for spring.

Potato Salad

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 Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

  • 3 lbs. red potatoes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 Tbs. dried dill
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced red or white onion
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
  • salt and pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add 1 Tbs. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until slightly tender when pierced with a knife. Drain potatoes and place the colander over the empty pot off the heat. Cover with a clean dish towel and let the potatoes steam for another 20 minutes, until they are tender but still hold their shape.

Whisk together mayo, milk, mustard, dill, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with celery, onion, and egg. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and gently stir until well-combined. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for several hours to let the flavors mingle. Serve cold.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten.

Nutrition facts (per serving): 215 calories, 21.5 g fat, 1.7 g carbs, 0.3 g fiber, 2.3 g protein.

Quinoa Salad

Despite the rainy (and possibly snowy) weather today, I am transitioning into full-on spring mode. Which means preparing for the next season by trying out summer recipes.

This salad is light and tangy and filled with nutritional powerhouses, including beans, peppers, and quinoa. It’s perfect as a side dish and substantial enough to star in a bag lunch.

Plus, Gabe and I just discovered a nearby park on yesterday’s walk. Is it picnic season yet?

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Tuscan White Bean Salad

When I lived in Washington, D.C. my biggest kitchen challenge was learning how to cook for one. My stomach still turns at the thought of a particular ramen noodle salad that I loved on day one but hated on day fourteen. (I also learned that being frugal did not require buying 80% lean beef. Especially when the thought of eating all that fat grossed me out so much it ended up in the trash anyway.)

Anyway… you’d think that by now I would have learned how to pare down portion sizes. But you’d be wrong.

This Tuscan white bean salad is delicious, but it makes a ton. Perfect for a potluck, but not so great for just the two of us. Next time, I’ll reduce the proportions, or plan to serve it at a party instead. Live and learn!

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Asian Noodle Salad

Now that another semester of grad school (for me) and law school (for the BF) have started, I’ve been thinking a lot about portable food. Simple, healthy, and delicious meals we can pack in our lunches. (Or suppers, for those of us with night classes…)

Salads came to mind right away. And then I started daydreaming about the amazing salads at an adorable little cafe in my hometown. Head chef Jennifer makes the most delicious sesame noodle salad that includes whole grains, protein, and good fats. I have no idea what her recipe is, but this one tastes just as delicious. Enjoy!

P.S. I’ve been growing those green onions in a glass of water in my kitchen. They used to be only an inch tall, but look at them now! Maybe I don’t have a “black thumb” after all!

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