Ok I admit it’s a really long title for a seemingly simple salad, but it tastes so good I am not even going to bother changing it.
As many of you know, I’ve been on a recent weight loss journey – wait, scratch that, “journey” sounds a little corny. Let’s call it “a push to shed the extra weight that’s been ruining my health, thereby bringing me closer to death.” Macabre a statement though it may be, the scared-straight method has been helping me to stay on track.
Anyhoo, this “push” has been working so far as I’ve been cutting down on sugars, bad carbs, and trans fats. It hasn’t been easy though, and there’s only so much high protein salads I can eat until the taste buds start to scream for something special. Otherwise I fear they will revolt.
I know myself. In the past whenever I tried to go paleo or cut out carbs and sugars completely, I would last about a week and a half until the craving for pizza and poutine would take over my every thought. This time around, I’ve been allowing myself to have cheat meals once a week and sprinkle in low carb and healthy dishes like this salad. I love this salad! Not only does it satisfy my foodie cravings for something flavourful, textured, and gourmet but it’s healthy and makes a great light dinner. The candied pecans and walnuts are of course an option, though I personally think they add a nice crunch and sweetness to the salad. Feel free to use just plain toasted nuts if you’re trying to avoid sugar.
I used a spring mix but baby spinach, kale, or regular old arugula will pair equally well with the beets, goat cheese, and candied nuts. For the dressing, I used whatever was in the fridge, which included some fancy mustard picked up from my local market called Kozlik’s Balsamic Fig and Date. In Toronto at least you can find Kozlik’s pretty much anywhere, but if you don’t know where to find them, Kozlik’s has a map on their website that shows all the locations. But I’m afraid for now the brand can only be found in Canada. Often times though you can find gourmet mustards at your local grocery store or gourmet specialty shop – check them out and see if you can find something that comes close to the one I used. If you can’t find the fancy mustard, then don’t sweat it. Just use some honey and red wine vinegar instead.
Prep Time | 20 minutes Cook Time | 45-55 minutes Yield | 3 – 4 servings
3 red beets, cut into wedges
1 tbl balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
For the candied nuts:
½ cup toasted unsalted pecan halves
½ cup toasted unsalted walnuts halves
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
A pinch of cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper (more if you like)
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tsp water
Sweet Dijon dressing:
1 tbl Dijon mustard
1 tsp Kozlik’s Balsamic Fig & Date mustard (or alternatively ½ tsp red wine vinegar and ½ tsp of honey)
½ tsp of lemon juice
4-5 tbl of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated carrots (or julienne if you’re feeling fancy)
Preheat oven at 425°F (225°C)
1. First make sure the beets are all cut into even sized wedges. In a large glass baking dish, toss together the beets with the balsamic and olive oil. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the beets are cooked all the way through.
2. While the beets are cooking, prepare the candied nuts. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. Add the pecans and walnuts to the sugar mixture along with the water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved into a glaze (feel free to add few drops of water if the mixture is too powdery).
3. Take the beets out to cool. Turn the oven down to 350°F (180°C). Transfer the pecans to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the pecans are caramelized and crusty on top. Slide the parchment sheet off and allow the nuts to cool on a counter top or on a table. Break apart any clusters (makes about a cup so whatever you don’t end up using can be stored in an airtight container).
4. Prepare the dressing: in a medium bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion.
5. In a large salad bowl mix the spring mix and carrots together with some of the Dijon dressing until moisten.
6. Plate the salad, then arrange the beets, candied nuts, and goat cheese on top. Drizzle with a bit of dressing and serve warm or at room temperature.