Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad

Recently, a new type of challenge has been offered up to us at 37 Cooks called “Cookbook Chat”, where there are a limited number of certain cookbooks available to the cooks, and it is on a first come first serve basis. Each cook that signs up receives a copy of the book and is asked to pick a recipe or two (depending on the challenge), then recreates the recipe, putting their own twist on it, and reviews it. The first cookbook offered up was one called "Silk Road Vegetarian: Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-free Recipes for the Mindful Cook" by Dahlia Abraham-Klein. Of course I signed up..it was gluten-free! Lately I have been eating quite a bit of plant-based dishes, so this book seemed right up my alley.

The book is beautiful and filled with recipes from Central Asia, covering from China to India. It includes bases & condiments, appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, rice dishes, and desserts. In addition, Abraham-Klein also includes a spice pantry section and information regarding basic preparation.
As I flipped through this book, I quickly realized it was going to be very difficult to pick one recipe to make. I finally decided on two recipes, a salad and a dessert. The salad I adapted per the 37Cooks Challenge and the dessert I followed the recipe exactly. I decided on two because I was having dinner with some dear friends and wanted to bring something to share. I chose the Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad, which is perfect for the summer. Both the beets and nectarines are available this time of year, and it required few ingredients. Then I decided to make the Peach Cobbler, because peaches are in season and readily available at a good price, and I had never had a peach cobbler before. Actually I don’t really eat peaches because I can’t get past the fuzz on the outside…I always opt for nectarines instead. Again, like the roasted beet and nectarine salad, this recipe also called for few ingredients. I sadly didn’t take a picture of it because we pretty much just dove right in and served it with some vanilla bean ice cream…needless to say this dessert was a HUGE hit. It asked for very little sugar, but it has the perfect sweetness with the fresh peaches. I will make this again for sure. Now on to the salad…get ready, its beautiful and delicious!

I’m a huge believer in the “you eat with your eyes first” theory…its true. My photo did not quite capture the beauty of this salad as I had hoped that it would, but I promise you, if you were to serve this to guests, it will be a conversation piece. We talked about this salad quite a bit last night for several reasons. None of us ever thought to put nectarines and beets together, and also it's just stunning to look at. It is so vibrant and equally delicious. I followed the recipe quite closely, but changed up a thing or two from her cooking methods and then added a few toppings myself. Below is my adaptation of Dahlia Abraham-Klein’s beautiful salad.

Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad
by Jenny
adapted from: Silk Road Vegetarian: Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten Free Recipes for the Mindful Cook, by Dahlia Abraham-Klein, page 99

Beets - 2 bunches with the greens attached (about 4-6 beets, depending on their size), Red, Gold, or a mixture of them
Nectarines - 4, peeled, pitted and then sliced thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch)
Red Onion - 1/4 cup, finely diced
Olive Oil - 1 Tablespoon
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced or grated
Pine Nuts -  1/4 cup, toasted
Nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - To taste, kosher
Pepper - To taste, black - freshly ground
Feta Cheese - 1/4 cup, crumbled

Oil - 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil or other neutral-flavored oil
Garlic - 2 cloves, grated
Lime - 1, juice and zest
Sugar - 3/4 Tablespoon organic, unrefined
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon, kosher
Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon, black - freshly ground

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Rinse beets and beet greens very well to remove any dirt (you may need to do this several times, especially for the greens.) Cut the beet greens from the stems and rinse in a colander, let drain. Cut the stems from the beets and discard the stems. 

Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place directly onto the oven rack. Roast for 1 hour, remove from oven and let cool.

Peel, pit and slice nectarines, place in a medium bowl and set aside. 

Peel and dice onion, place into bowl with nectarine slices and toss, set aside. 

While the beets are cooling, chiffonade the beet greens by placing them neatly on top of each other, then rolling them up tightly (into a cigar shape.) Next, using a sharp knife cut across the “cigar” into 1/4-inch slices (you can go larger or smaller, depending on your preference.)
In a medium sauteé pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and sauteé garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beet greens – these will cook down similar to spinach. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Once the beet greens have wilted, let them cool. Once cooled toss them into the bowl with the nectarine slices and red onion, toss to combine. 

When the beets have cooled, unwrap them one at a time, and peel the outer layer from the beet (I recommend wearing some plastic gloves!) and discard the foil and outer layer of the beets. Slice each beet in half, and then into 8 slices. Toss the beets in to the bowl with the nectarines, red onions, and beet greens. 

Next, prepare the dressing: Simply add all ingredients in the order listed above to a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to evenly coat. 

Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. 

Prior to serving, in a small sauteé pan add the pine nuts and nutmeg, and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper if desired. 

To serve, place salad into a serving bowl, top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese. 


Last night we served this alongside some baked salmon that had delicious herbs on it, brown rice with crumbled dulse, and of course the delicious peach cobbler for dessert. A light and delicious meal perfect for the summer time.

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