On a recent jaunt to Trader Joe's, I picked up a big bag of organic beets for not a lot of money. I roasted the entire batch on a cool morning, though only four were needed in this recipe. The rest will store in the fridge to be served alongside grilled meats and veggies or with some soft cheese. On the same shopping trip, I also found a bottle of white balsamic vinegar for just $2.99, perfect for the strawberry vinaigrette I had in mind to accompany this salad. White balsamic vinegar has less astringency in flavor than its darker cousin, pairing well with lighter foods like fruits, salads and fish.
The rest of this salad is easy. Just quickly blanch the peas, tossing everything together for a refreshing afternoon meal.
4 beets, rinsed and destemmed
2 cups baby spinach
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 small zucchini, grilled and diced
1 large handful sugar snap peas
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 handful sprouts
1/2 cup strawberry vinaigrette (recipe below)
5 large fresh or thawed strawberries
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF. Place the beets on a foil lined pan and seal with additional foil. Bake for 1 & 1/2 hours or until softened. Remove from oven, allowing to cool before peeling away the skins.
Meanwhile, purée the strawberries, vinegar, lemon juice, honey and oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Blanch the peas by cooking for 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and immediately immerse in ice water to stop the cooking process.
Arrange the spinach, onion and zucchini on serving plates. Thinly slice the beets and place over the onions. Add the peas and sprouts. Drizzle with dressing when ready to serve.
Yield: 4 servings