Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets, Fresh Mint, Blue Cheese & Pecans
Travel. I’ve been traveling for the past week-and-a-half. Not for pleasure. But for work. Which means that I’ve eaten a lot of airplane food. And mediocre room service. And cold pizza in conference rooms. I arrived home in San Francisco exhausted, and really craving something fresh, light, and healthy. Not to mention delicious.
This simple salad did the trick. Grab some fresh red and golden beets. Toss them in the oven. And while they’re roasting, unpack your bags. Or catch up on neglected household chores. Or one of the many other things on that long to-do list (which always seem to get longer rather than shorter).
Once the beets are out of the oven, toast some pecans. Crumble some blue cheese. Chop some fresh mint leaves. And make a simple vinaigrette. Peel and dice the beets. Then toss everything together in a big bowl.
Now you’re ready to eat and enjoy—it’s that simple.
Just sit down and relax. Savor this fresh, light, and healthy (not to mention delicious) salad. And forget about that long to-do list for a few minutes.
ARUGULA SALAD WITH ROASTED BEETS, BLUE CHEESE, MINT & PECANS
Serves 2 as an entrée-sized salad.
For the salad:
4-5 small beets (I used a mixture of golden and red beets, but any kind would work well here)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (goat cheese would work equally well here)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt & pepper
For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (to taste)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Remove each beet’s leafy greens and stems (reserve the beet greens for another use—for example, they’re great in pastas). Scrub the beets well under running water. Pat dry, and place on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil oil, then season well with salt and pepper. Fold the aluminum foil around the beets, creating an airtight packet (the goal here is to make sure that steam doesn’t escape the foil while the beets are roasting).
Roast the beets until tender, and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, open the aluminum foil to release the steam, and let cool. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, gently rub the skins off using a paper towel (the paper towel will help keep your hands from turning red). The skins should come off easily. Then, trim off the tops on ends, and cut each beet into 1/2 inch pieces.
Meanwhile, over medium heat, toast the pecans in a dry skillet until fragrant, and just starting to turn a deep golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat. Once they’re cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the pecans and set aside.
Make the vinaigrette. Put the mustard, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a large jar, and give it a good shake to emulsify the vinaigrette.
Assemble the salad. Simply throw everything—the arugula, mint, blue cheese, pecans, beets, and vinaigrette (to taste)—in a large bowl and toss well. Enjoy!
Note: If you roast red and golden beets together, juice from the red beets will slightly dye the golden beets, such that they’ll take on a golden-pink hue. I actually like this, and think it’s very pretty. But if you’re using both red and golden beets, and want to keep the colors separate, just roast them in separate aluminum foil packets. Or just use one type of beet—red, or golden, or whatever looks delectable.