Beet Challenge Results: Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts and...

Beet Challenge Results: Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts and Asian Dressing

The Beet Ingredient Challenge ended Feb. 15.  Last month, I put out a challenge for everyone to try beets as part of one meal before Feb. 15 and send me a photo or post a photo on social media.  Many of you “liked” the challenge on social media but then were too shy to share your photos.  Next time maybe I will have to come up with a prize to get everyone past their shyness.  Here is what I made with beets—Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts and Asian Dressing!  I love golden beets because they are mild, and they don’t stain your fingers when you peel them. 🙂  Here is how you can make this beautiful salad that combines just the right amount of nutty crunch, crispy greens, fork-tender beets, salty-nutty parmesan and tangy, Asian-inspired dressing.

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The Beets

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut the greens off your beets (save them for the salad) and scrub the beets to remove any dirt and tiny roots.  Rub the beets with olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and wrap them in aluminum foil.  Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size, until tender.  Check them every 15-30 minutes.  A knife should slide into the center easily.  Remove them from the oven and let them cool.  When they are cool enough to touch, use your fingers or a paper towel to gently rub off the skin.  You will be left with beautiful, whole roasted beets. They are good chilled or at room temperature, but I like to refrigerate the beets until I am ready to assemble the salad.

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The Candied Walnuts

Now for the candied walnuts.  I had never made candied walnuts, so I did what we all do—I searched the web for recipes that sounded good.  I decided to make this slightly spicy version that I found on FoodNetwork.com. These walnuts turned out slightly sweet and just a little spicy.  I loved them and thought they would add just the right crunch and kick to my beet salad.  You can click here for the original recipe, but here is what I did.  I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F.  While the oven preheated, I put about two cups of water in a pot and brought the water to a boil  Then I added a heaping cup of whole walnuts (4 oz., which is really between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 level cups) to the boiling water.  I let the walnuts blanch in the boiling water for 3 minutes.  While the walnuts were blanching, I made the sugar coating for them by combining 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, and 1/8 tsp. salt. After 3 minutes, I drained the walnuts in a fine mesh sieve to shake out all the water and then added the warm, slightly moist nuts to the powdered sugar mixture.  I gently stirred the walnuts until they were completely coated and then spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Then they needed to bake for about 10 minutes.  I stirred them around after 5 minutes and kept a close eye on them to make sure the nuts and sugar didn’t burn.  When they came out of the oven, I placed them on a wire rack to dry and cool—ok, I did taste one or two before they were cool. 🙂  Like magic, candied walnuts!

The Asian-Inspired Dressing

After thinking about what would be a good dressing for the salad, I decided that something with an Asian twist would add a lot of flavor.  I decided on a yummy combination (see the recipe below) of olive oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, low-sodium soy sauce, freshly minced garlic, sesame seeds and optionally, freshly minced ginger.  Place all the ingredients in a mason jar, tighten the lid and shake, shake, shake!  So simple, but lots of flavor!

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Some Assembly Required

Don’t worry, this is not one of those furniture projects that takes all night to assemble.  This is really easy.  Either on a serving platter or in individual salad bowls, make a nice nest of fresh salad greens.  If you remembered to save your beet greens, chop or tear them into pieces and add them to the greens.  Cut your beets into wedges.  Mine were large enough that each beet could be cut into 8 wedges.  If you have smaller beets, just cut them into 6 wedges, quarters or halves.  Place the beets on top of the salad greens.  Then add some shaved parmesan and candied walnuts.  Now you just need to drizzle a little of the dressing on top.  Enjoy!

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Asian-Inspired Salad Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: ¾ cup
Ingredients
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced (depending on how much you like garlic)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbps. rice vinegar
  • ¼-1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a mason jar.
  2. Place the lid on top and tighten.
  3. Shake the jar until the mixture is well combined.
  4. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

 

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