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Beet the Winter Blues



Granted, it's hard to call the weather winterly these days, but let's remember it's February after all. At this time of year, hearty heavy meals are prominent on the dinner menu - but why shouldn't we have a salad, too? A bowl of seasonal greens and vegetables is a perfect way to get our daily dose of vitamins and keep the doctor away during the cold season. And while summer salads are light and lovely, a winter salad can be bulked up, providing heft and substance, filling and fortifying us throughout this balmy - er – winter season.

Beets are a great addition to salads. Not only do they provide an infusion of vitamins and nutrients, their sweetness provides a perfect foil to sturdy, bitter, winter greens. Slow roast a bunch of beets ahead of time, then toss them with olive oil and lemon. Tuck them into the refrigerator, ready for popping into salads for a later meal (if you haven't already popped them into your mouth).

Marinated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios


Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Beets:

  • 1 1/2 pounds red or yellow beets, washed

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar


Salad:

  • 6 cups mixed greens (such as baby spinach, arugula, mizuna), washed and dried

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (or feta)
  • 
1/4 cup raw pistachios, coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the beets in a baking dish. Pour the oil over the beets and season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil, then roast the beets until they are tender, about 1 hour. Remove the beets from baking dish and transfer to a plate to cool. Pour the cooking oil into a small bowl and reserve.
  2. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. Cut the beets into 1-inch chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar to the reserved oil. Whisk to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the beets and gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate the  beets until use. (The beets will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days).
  3. To serve, place the greens in a large bowl. Drizzle the oil and lemon juice over the greens and add the salt; toss to combine. Divide the greens between serving plates. Spoon the beets into the center of the greens. Scatter the goat cheese, pistachios, and mint over the salad. Drizzle with some of the beet marinade.

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