Salads have become so lackluster. Over the past five years, my salad intake has dropped considerably because I tire of the limited and predictable Americanized salad options served at most modestly priced restaurants. Unfortunately, the only restaurants where I’ve been left astounded over a plate of leafy greens don’t exactly fit my budget.
I’ve accepted the fact that if I want tasty and unique salads, I have to prepare and enjoy them at home, which is fine with me. A few months ago, I had the yearning for this beet salad I ordered at one of those fancy, five-star eateries (a rarity). The boyfriend, however, didn’t seem so excited – salads never satisfied his hunger or palette. With steak as its companion, I had an inclination that my boyfriend would find a beet, pear, and goat cheese salad fulfilling and tasty. Lucky for me, I was right!
My beet, pear, and goat cheese salad was a victory. The salad was savory with a mature, elegant, and fresh taste. The distinct ingredients accompanied each other so well, leaving our taste buds uniquely satisfied. The goat cheese added a creamy touch, but it didn’t overpower the other flavors or the caloric count (like many other creamy dressings). I finally got my five-star salad at a price I could afford, and even my boyfriend stamped his approval. This salad can be enjoyed as an appetizer, side dish, or entrée – just add your favorite type of protein (steak is highly recommended).
Ingredients (serves two large portions or four small portions):
-3 fresh beets approximately 2 inches in diameter, sliced and quartered
-1 pear, sliced and halved
-Approximately 3 cups of mixed greens
-1/4 cup of goat cheese (you can always add more)
-1/4 cup of balsamic vinaigrette dressing
-Sprinkle of salt for the beets once they are cooked
-The beets need to be cooked. There are countless methods to cooking beets, but I prefer to boil mine because I find they turn out the most tender and tasty. First, fill a large pot with water and about a tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Next, cut off the stems, leaving about an inch or two still attached to the beet. If there is a root, cut it off as closely as possible.
-Wash the beets with room temperature water. Don’t wash or rub them too much or else you will take a layer of skin off of the beet.
-When the water comes to a boil, put the beets in the pot, cover with a lid, and lower to medium heat so there is a constant boil. Boil the beets for 60 minutes. (*Note: beets come in a variety of sizes from a large marble to a baseball. The smaller the beet requires less cooking time. When purchasing your beets, try and buy them as equally in size as possible so they cook evenly.)
-Once the beets have cooked, drain the water, put the beets in a colander, and run cool water over them for approximately 30 seconds—enough time to cool them so you don’t burn your hands when taking the outer skins off.
-Cut the remaining stems off of the beets.
-Slowly and carefully, start to peel the outer layer of skin off the beet. I find it’s easiest to pull from where the stem was. If cooked properly, the skin should come off fairly easily. Repeat with the next two beets.
-Slice and quarter the beets, lightly salt them, and set them aside.
-Slice and halve the pear. Set aside with the beets.
-In a large bowl, measure out the 3 cups of mixed greens and add the pears, beets, and goat cheese.
-Pour in the ¼ cup of balsamic vinaigrette dressing and mix the contents together with two salad spoons.