I’m always looking for ways to eat more greens. When I couldn’t find a salad mix at my local co-op, I realized I could make my own. I used beet greens, arugula and leaf lettuce because they were what I had on hand. I didn’t think I liked raw beet greens until I invented this salad
I tore the beet greens and arugula off their stems, and washed them with the lettuce. I left this all to air dry in a big colander for an hour or so—tossing it a few times—and when it was almost totally dry, I stuffed the mix into an airtight, re-closable plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator to chill. The mix was nice and crisp the next day.
To the salad mix, I added:
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Pistachio dusted goat cheese
Steam beets with their skins on until soft. Let cool a bit. Rub the skin off the beets under running water. Slice the beets thinly. Make a mixture of 2 parts apple cider vinegar to 1 part sugar or other sweetener. Bring this vinegar-sugar mixture just to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Put the beets into a glass canning jar. Pour the vinegar-sugar mixture over the beets. Let cool. Refrigerate. Make these a few days ahead or just use fresh beets in the salad.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
Melt butter in a cast iron skillet. Add just a tad of soy sauce. Put the raw pumpkin seeds into the skillet with the butter and soy sauce and add salt to your taste. Cook on medium heat until the seeds begin to get brown and they make a “popping” sound. Turn frequently as you cook them. Drain on a paper or cloth towel.
THE FANTASTIC DRESSING
This salad is all about the dressing. It makes the greens come alive with flavor.
In a blender, put:
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 TBL fresh peppermint
2-3 TBL fresh basil
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp. sugar or sweetener
salt and pepper.
Blend until well mixed. These measurements are approximate. Adjust the seasonings to match your taste. The key ingredients are the while balsamic vinegar, mint and basil.
FRYING GOAT CHEESE?
I shelled some pistachio nuts, put them in a plastic bag and rolled a rolling pin over them to crush them. I then rolled small pieces of goat cheese in the ground pistachios. Next, I put olive oil in a cast iron skillet and heated until almost smoking. Very quickly, I put the pistachio covered goat cheese into the oil. It was almost a big mess (they must not do it this way in the restaurants!), but I pulled out the cheese pieces and put them on paper towel just in time, as they melted a bit. Feel free to forgo the frying, but this “mistake” added a lovely texture and flavor to the salad.
MAKING THE SALAD
Put greens, pickled beets and orange pieces into a salad bowl and toss with the dressing. Don’t overdress the salad. Top with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.
Serve with corn on the cob.
Peggy O’Mara is the CEO of peggyomara.com. She founded Mothering.com in 1995 and was its editor-in chief until 2012. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of two.