beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts + cranberries

20 July, 2012 § Leave a comment

I used to hate salad. I mean, hated it. Wouldn’t go near the stuff. Nowadays, salad and I are becoming better acquainted, and this particular one is my not-so-new borderline best friend.

Beet salad is an unoriginal idea, I’ll admit. But if I told you that this particular beet salad is inspired by Sahale Snacks’ delicious Valdosta pecans and that it pleases even picky salad eaters, I must have done something right, right? You have to understand that this is a little nerve-wracking as it is the first recipe of my own to go up on my blog.

I prefer no-nonsense, 100% pure baby spinach for this salad, but I’m sure you more adventurous herbivores could make use of many other greens with great success. The beauty of this beet salad is in its versatility–there are a lot of interchangeable parts, which I love as I don’t always have every single ingredient on hand. That being said, the recipe below lists my most-loved, most-portable version. Feel free to tweak the measurements to your preference and let me know how it turns out! There’s only one thing I ask: don’t make this as a side salad. This is meant to be a big, green stuff-your-face-with-it salad that can only be tackled with a large fork and a larger appetite.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Walnuts + Cranberries Serves one

Baby spinach (depending on how leafy you like your salads)
1-2 large baby beets
Scant 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Black pepper, preferably freshly ground
8 walnut halves, preferably raw
2 tablespoons goat cheese
Balsamic glaze or vinegar

Transfer desired amount of baby spinach to container you plan to eat your salad from. Add baby beets sliced into 1/2-inch cubes or strips, whichever you prefer. Pepper the cranberries generously (trust me on this one) and add, making sure the pepper sticks. Add walnuts in odd pieces, breaking them with your fingers. Cut desired amount of goat cheese off a log and crumble in. Drizzle with balsamic glaze or vinegar, mixing with a fork as you go to ensure that all ingredients as well as the glaze is incorporated–leave no leaf behind.

Enjoy!

Notes & Product Recommendations
The measurements and ingredients above are, as in most salads, completely tweak-able. Pecans would be fine in place of walnuts (though I would toast them, so you don’t miss the crunch.) I never found the need to toast the walnuts; they lend appropriate crunch without it. The pepper brings out the cranberries’ flavor, a trick I learned from the Valdosta pecans mentioned above. In fact, if ou can find the Valdostas, you could sub those in for both the walnuts and cranberries, they’re just less cost-efficient. Normal beets would work just as well, I just choose to use baby beets as they’re easy to work with–the same reason why I use a log of chèvre–and occasionally come in fun flavors (I highly recommend all Love Beets products, if you can get them). Now, for my last recommendation (promise!), Blaze. I think this is carried in most grocery stores. It literally changed my life–it has the texture of delicious, fine quality aged Italian balsamic without the $$$ price tag. Plus, its packaging makes it a snap to use. Apparently there is a range of Blaze flavors as well, but I’m a simple girl when it comes to salad dressing.

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