Thursday, April 21, 2011

Roasted Beet Salad With Oranges And Pecans In An Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

Beets and Oranges - A marriage that was meant to last!

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Just Natural Together
There are few flavors that blend together quite as well as beets and oranges! I still have some winter beets in my garden which probably should have been eaten already so I picked a few of those. And the oranges are just ripening on the tree so I plucked a few of them too. I used 1/2 an orange to make a quick vinaigrette and the rest went into the salad. The most time was spent waiting for the beets to roast.

Preparing Beets
My main goal in preparing beets is to avoid dying my hands and ruining my clothes! So I avoid touching them as much as possible. In my post on Raw vegan beet and radish salad with meyer lemon vinaigrette, I prepare the raw beets wearing plastic gloves. In roasting beets, I just carefully trim the tops and bottoms of the beets, and never touch them again - using a fork and knife to carefully peel the skin off after roasting. To further avoid making a mess, I roast the beets in an aluminum foil tent. I don't worry about the contact with aluminum since the skin is going to be removed.

Trim the beets and place in heavy duty foil.

Make a foil tent for roasting.
 Be careful of stem when opening.

Save the Greens
Don't just toss away those beautiful greens. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamins A,  C, E and K, important B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6 as well as key minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese. Due to the high content of oxalic acid in beet greens, however, much of the calcium will not be absorbed.

Lightly steam the beet greens.

Pecans - Get Them While you Can!
I love pecans. They are one of my favorite nuts. Having lived in Texas for so many years, I was spoiled with those big, yummy, Texas pecans. Well as it turns out, lots of people love them - especially the Chinese. According to a recent article, "Shell Shock: Chinese Demand Reshapes U.S. Pecan Business", the Chinese went from buying almost no pecans 5 years ago to buying 1/4 of the U.S. crop in 2009 and it continues to grow. Well, even though we are going to see prices go up due to this new demand, I feel good about farmers making some more money.  

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Pecans
[serves 4]
For the salad
4 medium beets
1 1/2 fresh seedless oranges
12 raw pecan halves
heavy duty aluminum foil
For the dressing
3 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1/2 an orange)
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Trim the tops and bottoms from the beets and place in a sheet of aluminum foil. Fold over each side of the foil and crimp each end, tightly enclosing the beets. Roast in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until done. Be careful when you open the foil tent as steam will escape quickly.
Hold the end of the beet with a fork and with a butter knife in your other hand, gently scrap off the skin. Once peeled, slice the beets and place them in a bowl.
Cut the top and bottom off the oranges with a knife (but make sure you've already removed the zest). Then holding upright, cut the skin off with a knife. Cut the orange in half, and then slice into pieces. (I prefer cutting rather than peeling so that you are exposing the flesh and not chewing into membrane). Place orange in bowl with the beets. 
Add pecan halves.
Combine all dressing ingredients, add to the salad and toss until well combined.
Top with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Per serving: 126.4 calories, 6.7 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.9 g protein, 15.8 g carbohydrates and 3.6 g dietary fiber.


Health Seeker's Kitchen said...

Gorgeous salad! You would not think to put beets and oranges together, but it looks beautiful and delicious. I love beets,oranges & pecans, so I am going to give this salad a try. Thank you:)

ingridbuck@pecan halves said...

This salad is wonderful. I love the mix of beet, orange and pecan. For me this is something new to try.