Eating Green…and Orange…and Red!

A consistent struggle at our house (and in most homes I suspect) is to balance eating healthy food with eating delicious food.  When one dish combines both healthy and delicious, I do a happy dance! This delight is a Citrus Beet Salad.  Fresh orange slices and ruby red beets are nestled into tiny baby spinach leaves, topped with a honey and orange vinaigrette, green onions and toasted walnuts.  It is refreshing and filling as a meatless meal for two.  Or, a side serving for four.  Citrus Beet Salad is perfect for a cool summer meal.  In Autumn, just when beets and oranges are at their peak, this salad shouts fresh flavor!

Beets are definitely an earthy taste that are not appreciated by everyone.  If you don’t know if you like (love) beets, try them.  Fresh beets cooked, steamed, or roasted are a hearty accompaniment to most any meal.  Here, they take center stage with sweet orange slices.  Canned beets offer a quick prep method to get this salad on the table lickety-split.  Your local grocery will also offer pickled beets.  While pickled beets are divine, this Citrus Beet Salad recipe suggests cooked NOT pickled beets. ( I do LOVE pickled beets!)

I had another reason to use fresh beets….hubby had requested pickled eggs…you know, those purple-y/pink peeled hard boiled eggs found in huge glass jars with onions, spices, and beets.  How do they get purple?  Beet liquid! This recipe helped me to multitask and be frugal…which is always appreciated!!  Hubby liked the eggs by the way….perhaps I’ll add pickled eggs to the salad in the future…hmmmm….  I hope you enjoy making this dish and eating green…orange…and red!

Citrus Beet Salad

3 whole red beets (or two 15 oz. can for a quick to the table version)

3 seedless Naval oranges

2 cups baby spinach, washed and trimmed

4 green onions

½ cup chopped walnuts

Dressing:

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 Olive Oil

2 TBSP honey

Salt & Pepper to taste

If using fresh beets: 

  1.  Wash and trim beets.
  2. Place in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and cover with water.
  3. Bring covered sauce pan to boil, then reduce to simmer for 45 minutes or until beets are fork tender.
  4. Allow beets to cool slightly in pan, then remove beets with a slotted spoon to a container that can be covered and refrigerated.
  5. Refrigerate beets until cold or overnight.
  6. Reserve beet juice for other uses (jelly or pickled eggs?)
  7. Once cooled, peel the skin off the beets and discard.  Hint: use clear plastic wrap to cover cutting board and plastic sandwich bags to cover your hands to work with beets and avoid staining.
  8. Slice the beets horizontally, in approximately ¼” slices and prepare the remainder of the salad.

If using canned beets:

  1.  Place cans in refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad.
  2. Open cans, drain beets, reserving beet juice for other uses if desired.
  3. Slice beets horizontally, in approximately 1/4” slices.

Once beets are sliced and chilled, prepare the remainder of the salad:

  1.  Place the walnuts in a small dry skillet.  Continuously stir the walnuts over medium heat until fragrant.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Remove the peel and pith from 2 of the three oranges and slice horizontally similar to the beets, into ¼” slices.
  3. Slice the remaining orange, using one half for slicing as above and the other half for juicing to yield ¼ cup juice.
  4. In a pint jar with a tight sealing lid, add the ¼ cup of orange juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt & pepper (to taste).  Seal the jar and shake vigorously until well blended and the dressing is emulsified.
  5. Clean and slice green onions, set aside.
  6. Prepare the salad by layering the baby spinach on a large platter or bowl.
  7. Alternate adding slices of beets and oranges.
  8. Add green onion slices, including the green tops, over the entire salad.
  9. Top with walnuts.
  10. Drizzle dressing over salad just before serving and toss all ingredients.
  11. Serve & enjoy!
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