Deep in my consciousness, I have a terrible hatred of salad. Salads when I was growing up consisted of iceberg lettuce, tasteless tomatoes and some sort of dressing and lots of it. Going back even further to second grade, the principal pointed at my untouched salad and asked me to take one bite. I don’t remember too much about the salad except that it ruined recess. So when approached with salads, it has to be interesting. Greens and a dressing just won’t cut it for me, there has to be a lot going on.
Some standby favorites are a Caesar salad, fried chicken salad, Chinese Won Ton salad and strawberry spinach salad. But as of late, I’ve fallen deeply in love with goat cheese and beet salad.
This salad has it all: crunchy (toasted maple pecans), tangy and creamy (goat cheese), earthy (beets and mixed greens) and slightly sweet (orange juice and balsamic dressing). It keeps my taste buds guessing and when I’m finished, I start planning the next time I can eat it.
The salad is easy to assemble. I make the dressing and maple pecans in advance (walnuts can be substituted), buy precooked beets and bagged lettuce of mix greens. Having everything prepped in advance is a reason for me not to skip eating a salad.
Goat Cheese & Beet Salad
Serves 2 as main entrees or 4 as a side
4 small beets, cooked and sliced*
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 package of mixed greens
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese
Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and add pecans. Toast nuts for 2 minutes and add maple syrup one tablespoon at a time until well-coated. Remove from heat and cool.
In a small jar, add orange juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and shake until combined.
In a large serving dish, place greens and arrange beets on top. Crumble goat cheese over salad and add nuts. Add dressing according to taste.
*If you choose to cook the beets yourself: Scrub and trim 4 beets. Place in saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil. Cook for 25-35 minutes until tender. Drain and cool.