One of my favorite root veggies is the sweet, earthy, colorful beet. My husband loves them too. Most people are not that familiar with fresh beets and have no idea how to prepare them. Actually it is very simple.
Beets also happen to be super healthy. They contain powerful nutrients that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and colon cancer. They’re rich in folate, potassium, and fiber too.
But how to prepare them? While I love their flavor, I’d often take the lazy way out and buy canned, ugh! It is so easy to do, you will adore them. You can eat them plain or with this wonderfully citrusy dressing that I just love. It is scented with fresh orange and sweetened a bit more with some great local honey! Enjoy!!
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Fresh Beet Salad
(It really is easy!)
1 pound beets (3-4 medium sized) stems removed, washed
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
good quality bleu cheese, crumbled (Maytag is wonderful) optional
praline pecans (recipe follows)
To prepare the beets: Wash the beets and cut off each end. Wrap the beets in foil and roast for about 1 1/4 hours at 350, depending on the size of the beets. They are ready when you can pierce them easily with a knife. Let them cool slightly, slip off the skins then slice. Cut into round slices, wedges or cubes, whichever you prefer.
1 cup pecans, walnuts or almonds
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
Prepare a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray lightly with Pam spray. In a medium size saucepan combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Increase heat slightly and cook syrup, without stirring, about 12-15 minutes, until golden. You’re looking for that golden to amber color. Now remove from heat and stir in your nut of choice. Be careful the sugar syrup is hot! Working quickly spread the pecans onto the cookie sheet and press with the back of a large spoon to flatten. Cool completely. Break into small pieces.
To assemble salad: arrange salad greens if using. Arrange beets on plate, drizzle with orange dressing. Top with crumbled bleu cheese (or your favorite cheese) and garnish with these fabulous sugared nuts. They are heavenly!
Note: The roasted beets can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for up to two days. The dressing can be prepared ahead of time also and stored in fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.