I love salad. I guess I love it for two reasons. It’s a healthy, low-carb meal (if you make it right) and you can have a different salad every day of the week. Salad seems to taste better when someone else makes it for you. I think it’s because salad can be a lot of work to make; all that washing and chopping. I made one of my favorites for lunch today and I timed myself. Five minutes to make it. It will take you longer to eat it!
Besides being quick to prepare, this salad just screams Fall. Pears and beets are both in season now. I always have a bag of shelled walnuts in my freezer, ready to go. Walnuts (and most nuts) are in the top 10 list of superfoods, foods that you should try to incorporate into your daily diet. Walnuts contain the essential fatty acid, Omega-3. Just one quarter cup of walnuts provides 90% of the recommended daily value for Omega-3. Walnuts are beneficial for brain health, heart health, immune function, anti-inflammatory response and many other body functions. Plus, they add a crunchy texture to salads that really improves the satiety level.
Beets and pears are also very beneficial to health. Pears are a good source of Vitamin C and copper. Beets bring their friends betalains to the party. Betalains have many health benefits including antioxidant and detoxification. Just don’t overcook your beets or the benefits will be greatly reduced.
And, don’t forget the health benefits of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The key to this salad is to make the beets ahead. Roast in a double layer of aluminum foil with a little olive oil in a 400 F degree oven for 45 minutes or steam in steamer for about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly and rub the skins off with a paper towel. Put into a container in the fridge and enjoy when you want your salad. Choose a day when you already have a perfectly ripe pear.
This salad is an entree size portion so adjust quantities accordingly to make more or less. You can also make this salad for a nice side dish for dinner. Toast the walnuts, set aside. Dice the beets, store in the fridge. Assemble at the last minute. You can always make a fancy dressing (ahead) in the blender (or Magic Bullet) to serve on the side if guests are over. The magic ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1. Add some fresh cracked black pepper and you are set. Of course, I prefer organic where possible.
- a small handful of shelled walnuts
- 2 1/2-3 ounces mix spring salad or whatever kind you like
- 1/2 -1 pear, peeled and diced
- 1 roasted beet, diced
- 1/8 cup blue style cheese, blue, gorgonzola, etc.
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- ground pepper
- Turn toaster oven to toast. Cover toaster oven baking dish with aluminum foil and put walnuts on tray. Toast in toaster oven for a few minutes until lightly brown. You can also toast lightly in a small saute pan. Watch carefully so as not to burn. Remove and let cool.
- While walnuts are toasting, place salad greens on a plate.
- Peel and dice the pear.
- Top salad with diced pear, diced beets and crumbled blue cheese.
- When walnuts are cool, chop lightly. Sprinkle walnuts on top of salad.
- Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar.
- Sprinkle with ground, black pepper.
- If you want to add a little more nutrition, add a couple of tablespoons of shelled sunflower seeds for Vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.