Beet Salad with Pecans and Feta

It All Starts From A Seed
I already have my beet seeds ready for spring planting in early April (in Toronto, Ontario, CANADA). It’s been a chilly March which may force me to plant my seeds in late April this year. I really enjoy beet salad, especially when paired with goat cheese. Soft goat cheese or feta cheese both work well in this salad. I was inspired after I made Wolfgang Puck’s Goat Cheese Napoleons for the first time. Amazing! I love beets so much that I now grow them in the garden at the lake house. Last year, as most years, they were left unattended ..and Mother Nature watered my beets.  I liked to pick my baIMG_0003by beets when they are about 1″ in size. When I served my beet appetizer to Chef Jamie, a weekend guest, his eyes immediately opened wide. He couldn’t believe the flavour. I bought the same type of seeds this year; golden and ruby beets. My favorite golden beets are sweeter than their deep red sibling. Even the greens from the golden beets are sweeter.
This year, I decided to grow beets in my balcony pots in Toronto. I will still faithfully plant them in the north country by the lake. I fear the Toronto smog may take its toll on my city beets. It will be interesting to see how they both turn out; the country beets and city beets.

MY FAVORITE BEET SALAD
Ingredients
6 medium beets
1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed
3 cups baby arugula or other tender greens(like watercress, baby spinach, etc.)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
freshly ground pepper
salt to taste, if you wish
Optional: 1/2 cup toasted pecans
Serves 4 people.
Single Servings: refrigerate what you don’t plan on eating. It will be hard to resist not having this salad the next day for lunch or dinner.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Rinse the beets and cut off the greens, saving them for another use. Hint: chop and freeze the greens if you are not using soon.
3. Bake beets in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes until tender. I am using my glass baking containers for this instead of the classic foil.
4. Let them cool and then slip the skin off using gloves or paper towels to protect your hands from colouring. Cut into edible sized pieces.
Optional: You can toast your pecans in the oven for about 10 minutes, leave them untoasted (healthier but not as tasty) or candy them (not as healthy but yummy!)
5. Combine ingredients for the salad dressing. I do not use any salt in this dressing. I find that I do not miss it. The feta is salty enough.
6. Toss the greens in the dressing reserving some to drizzle on top of the salad. Place the greens in the serving bowl. The beets and pomegranate seeds are scattered on top. Then I layer on the feta and pecans but do not toss them. The feta will just stain from the beets. Drizzle more dressing on top and serve.

WHEELSVARATIONS: Finely chop some of your beets. Toss the beets and pomegranate seeds in the dressing and place this mixture on the ends of  endive leaves.
When making my salad I substituted 1 tablespoon of brain octane oil for one of the tablespoons of olive oil.
Candied PECANS
For candied pecans, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Toss the 1/2 cup of pecans in the syrup and roast in the oven on a parchment lined baking sheet at 325F for 10 minutes. Yummy! If you have guests, you need to make sure to make extra candied pecans. While the pecans are cooling, you will inevitably find those taste testers in the kitchen. Some pecans will magically disappear.
Sprinkle finely chopped feta cheese on top of the minced beets that are on the endives and serve as an hors d’ourve or appetizer for your guests.
endive-appetiser_feta
WHAT’S NEXT. . .
You can freeze your beet greens or leave them in the refrigerator. NEXT…I will provide a new and unique recipe on how to use your beet greens. I am tired of just steaming, sauteing, or putting them in soups. Something new coming up on my next blog. A healthy, tasty recipe you may have never thought you would dream of making.

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