Don’t stress your sides! This salad from the Sweet Potato Chronicles is a delicious complement to your holiday entrées.
- 3 medium beets, washed and trimmed
- 2 blood oranges, supremed
- 1 head of Boston, bibb or even romaine lettuce (something with some crunch)
- 5 or 6 leaves of radiccio lettuce
- 1 head of Belgian endive
- 1/3 cup of pecans, chopped
- 1/3 cup of feta, crumbled
- 5 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp. Chili Gourmet extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. plain yogurt
- 1 tsp. Dijon
- Salt and pepper to taste
Start with your beets. You can either boil or roast beets. I slightly prefer roasting them and if the oven is already on for something else then all the better. But sometimes I don’t want to have the oven on 350 degrees for 40 minutes for three little beets and then I boil them and honestly, it’s fine. Either way, wash and trim them. If they’re going in the oven, wrap them in foil and put them in some kind of baking tin in case they get leaky. Roast them for between 35 to 40 minutes — poke them with a fork right through the foil and when you can feel that they’re tender in the middle, they’re done. Let them cool a bit before taking the foil off. If you’re boiling them, slip them into boiling water and let them simmer for about 30 minutes. Again, give them a poke with a fork to check them. Allow your beets to cool well before peeling them. The skins should slip off quite easily but you might need to make a small cut to get it started. Yes, your hands and cutting board are going to be stained. Chop your lovely beets into, say, 1 inch cubes, and set aside.
Okay, now your blood oranges. You could use regular oranges if you don’t the blood variety at the store but you’ll be so happy if you do find them, their colour is spectacular. Slice a tiny piece off the top and bottom, just enough so that the orange can sit flat on your cutting board. Now, take your sharpest knife and cut the rind off. You’re going to slice down the orange, following the curve of the fruit, just inside the rind and the pith (that white stuff under the rind) so you expose the inside of the orange. Work all the way around your orange until you’ve taken off all the rind and as much pith as you can. Don’t worry about the odd little bit. Now hold the orange in your hand and, again, with your sharpest knife, cut into the orange just inside the lines that divide the segments. Follow the slight angle of the segment to the centre. Cut one side of the segment and then the other and the perfect, little skinless piece of orange will pop out into your waiting bowl. It sounds fussy but it’s really is easy once you’ve started. The only tricky part is once you’ve worked your way around the orange it gets floppy and hard to hold firm. Please be careful!
Phew. Set aside your oranges (there will be a fair bit of juice and you can drain it just before assembling your salad).
Wash, dry and chop your lettuces into bite-sized pieces. I really hate it when a salad comes with pieces of lettuce that require cutting, don’t you? Toss the lettuces together so you get a nice mix of colours and arrange in your bowl or platter. Now scatter your beets pieces over. Drain your orange pieces and place them on next.
Put all of your salad dressing ingredients in a used jam jar with a lid and shake it up. Use about half of your dressing to cover the salad and with your fingers or salad tongs, toss your salad so everything is lightly dressed. Push things around to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Now just sprinkle over with cheese and nuts. You can put the rest of the dressing in a little serving dish on the table in case anyone wants a bit more. Et voila! It’s festive, it’s pretty and hey, it’s pretty damn healthy, too.
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