This recipe is a celebration of one of an overlooked yet versatile vegetables- the humble beet. Featured in soups, purees and sometimes even cakes, this vibrant gem of a product can find its way into many an entrée in a supporting role, but for this dish it is the center piece, paired with some exceptional ingredients, including some outstanding cheese from Indiana dairy, Caprini Creamery.
The zing and sweetness of the in-season navel oranges are at the heart of the balsamic vinaigrette. This light dressing pairs beautifully with earthy beets, the creamy feta, and the smooth, syrupiness from the candied pecans. Added sharpness and crunch comes in the form of jewel-like pieces of pomegranate that help turn this salad into a joyful bowl full of color and freshness, which can easily be adapted to be served as a side dish or as star of your holiday dinner.
4 oz feta
2 large beets
4-5 oz butternut squash (diced)
10 oz spring mix
½ cup pecans
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp water
Handful of fresh mint
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half an orange
Salt/pepper to taste
Dried chili flakes
Melt the sugar and water on a medium heat until dissolved and bubbling gently. Add the pecans and stir for 3 minutes until well coated. Remove from the heat before cooling on a lined baking tray.
Pre heat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Trim the beets, setting aside the leaves as they’re a welcome addition to the spring mix, before scrubbing clean under running cold water. Dice the butternut squash and slice the beets length ways into quarters or even eighths, and drizzle both vegetables with oil and season to taste before roasting for 35-40 minutes.
De-seed the pomegranate by scoring the six ridges from top to bottom. Over a bowl of water, split the fruit in half, before picking out the seeds under water. Add the beet leaves to the spring mix before topping your salad with the crumbled feta, pomegranate seeds, candied pecans, butternut squash and beet wedges. In a small jar, blend the dressing ingredients before drizzling liberally over the salad.
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