I’m always looking for ways to eat more greens. When I couldn’t find a salad mix at my local co-op, I made my own using beet greens, arugula and leaf lettuce I had on hand. I didn’t think I liked raw beet greens until I created this salad. Try them when they are young and fresh.
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, reusable 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 the following ingredients:
- Picked beets
- Orange pieces
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Pistachio dusted goat cheese
Rub each raw beet with a bit of olive oil and cover snugly with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven at 425° until soft. (1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the beets) Pierce them through the foil with a fork to tell if they’re done. 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 use fresh beets or commercially pickled beets in the salad.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
Melt butter in a cast iron skillet. Add just a touch 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 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. Into a blender, put:
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh peppermint
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar, honey or other sweetener
- salt and pepper to taste.
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 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. Later, a chef told me that they deep fry these in restaurants and roll the goat cheese in flour before rolling in the nuts.
ASSEMBLING 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.
About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years and founded Mothering.com in 1995. My books include Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Home and A Quiet Place. I have conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter with free tips on parenting, activism, and healthy living.