Beet it, salad, I want dinner!

this doesn't look right

this doesn’t look right

So… let me preface this post by saying I’d never had a beet in my life before working at my current restaurant. Over 30 years, and those blood red roots scared the bejeebers out of me! Well, since I get free meals for managing, I decided to face my fears one night and taste our beet salad starter, because at least I wouldn’t be any worse off if I didn’t like it. Turns out, it is amazing! The beets are soft, juicy and sweet, and the tangy pop of pomegranate seeds perfectly balance the smooth texture of the crumbled goat cheese. It was literally so delicious that I was an immediate convert and just HAD to attempt one myself.
gotta' keep it separated

gotta’ keep it separated

Since I’m growing beets in my veggie garden and the leaves were looking pretty large, I went to the store and bought the other ingredients. Then I went BACK to the store a second time when I discovered the beets themselves are still only the size of Cuties (those little baby oranges that are so cute, but too small for anyone but young children). After slicing into the first red beet, I realized it was very hard and obviously not like the ones in our salad at work. So I googled how to cook beets and found many recipes that said to boil them (I found out later that Hog’s Breath Inn actually roasts our beets in sherry, olive oil, and salt and pepper), so I cut them all in half and boiled two separate batches of red and golden beets in my Stainless Cookware to preserve the colors and avoid stains.

most delicious crime scene ever

most delicious crime scene ever

To finish the salad, I made my own raspberry pomegranate vinaigrette adapted from the Classic Vinaigrette recipe on the Pampered Chef website, which turned out to be the only part Jeremiah liked, haha! Officially, he said he “wasn’t sure how [he] felt about the salad,” but since I had to eat his portion after it sat there for a good half an hour untouched, I knew the usual garbage disposal of a boyfriend wasn’t interested. Fine with me, I got to eat twice as much! I was incredibly full, but it was so delicious that I was happy to help him out, and I simply skipped preparing the entree part of our dinner. The beets were so hearty that it WAS dinner!

not so good at tossing yet

not so good at tossing yet

This is definitely a must-try, though I do apologize for yet another semi-guessed recipe. I have a tendency to just throw random quantities of ingredients into a mixture without measuring first, so it becomes difficult to type out a specific recipe after the fact. I did my best to stare at all the prep bowls and containers I used to make this as accurate as possible, and I will have to work on paying closer attention to times and amounts in the future. I still think you ought to make the salad, because it should be close enough to taste just as good no matter what. These ingredients are soooo complementary to each other, but many nuts, dressings or cheeses would fare just as well. On a totally inappropriate note, don’t be frightened by what you might find the next morning if you happen to love this meal and eat as many red beets and pomegranate seeds as I did. 😉

this salad got my goat

this salad got my goat

Pomegranate Beet Salad

2-4 red beets
1-2 large golden beets
4 oz goat cheese
4-5 tbsp sliced almonds
1/2 pomegranate or 1 package pomegranate seeds
2-3 bags mixed greens
Raspberry Pomegranate Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

1. Scrub, trim, and cut beets into halves or quarters. Bring 2 pots of water to a boil (or for one pot, prepare golden beets first), add beets, and boil 20-30 minutes until mostly fork tender but still somewhat firm. Remove beets with Scoop ‘N Drain and transfer pieces to Large Grooved Cutting Board to cool.

2. Toast almonds in 8″ Executive Saute Pan, stirring frequently, until slightly browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Peel pomegranate and remove seeds, being careful not to pop them.

3. Peel or trim skin off beets and slice into approx. 1/4 inch pieces. Toss mixed greens in desired amount of Vinaigrette, and arrange beet slices on a bed of the greens. Add crumbled goat cheese, almonds, and pomegranate seeds, then finish with a healthy amount of freshly cracked Peppercorn Medley.

Yield: Approx. 4 servings

Chef’s Note: Any greens may be used, but pre-packaged mixed greens with aromatic herbs adds great dimension to the salad. Also, walnuts or pine nuts may be substituted for almonds, and traditional balsamic vinaigrette or red wine vinaigrette may be used in place of the homemade dressing if a more tart flavor is desired.

wait, I'm not dressed yet!

wait, I’m not dressed yet!

Raspberry Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1 crack fresh Coarse Sea & Himalayan Salt
1 crack fresh Peppercorn Medley
1/2 pomegranate
1/2 cup olive oil

1. Combine vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in Measure, Mix & Pour and pump handle a few times to mix ingredients.

2. Peel pomegranate and remove seeds. Muddle in 2-Cup Prep Bowl and pour liquid through 5″ Strainer and discard seed pulp. Add juice to Measure, Mix & Pour, then slowly pour in olive oil and pump whisk until blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Chef’s Note: Pampered Chef has a fabulous Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar that may be used instead of raspberry, and we offer Orange or Rosemary-Infused Canola Oils to replace the olive oil for a flavor twist. If pomegranates are unavailable or too difficult, 1-2 oz of bottled pomegranate juice may be used as a substitution for the freshly muddled seeds.

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