I’m so thrilled to introduce our newest contributor Jeanine Donofrio and her new series In Season. Twice a month, she’ll be stopping by to share a healthy, delicious recipe inspired by one seasonal ingredient picked up from the farmer’s market. I’ve been a huge fan of Jeanine’s blog Love & Lemons for a while: it’s one of those rare sites that does much more than show beautifully-photographed food – I actually want to make everything that Jeanine creates! The fact that she happens to be a fellow Austinite is icing on the cake, and I can’t wait to see the gorgeous edibles she cooks up for this series. Without further ado…
Thanks Camille! I’m thrilled to be here!
I’ve been such a fan so I was excited when Camille asked me to lunch a few weeks ago. We not only ordered the same dish (Tofu Bun from Elizabeth St. Cafe), but we chatted about how we share almost identical tastes in food… from sweet potatoes to arugula… peaches to okra… and just about every seasonable vegetable in between.
But today, let’s talk about beets, shall we? A hearty root vegetable, they’re available pretty much all year round, but they’re best June through October. I picked up some gorgeous ones at our farmers market last week and decided they would go perfectly with some ripening pears that were sitting on my countertop. To balance all of the sweetness I added some tangy feta and toasty walnuts.
This would be great as a starter for a fall dinner party. I also make salads like this to have on hand for my weekday lunches. This one will keep for a couple of days in the fridge and it’s one of those salads that actually tastes a little bit better the second day. (although note that it won’t be prettier the second day).
Keep reading for the recipe…
ROASTED BEET, PEAR & WALNUT SALAD
serves 3-4 as a side dish
- 3 medium sized beets, any variety (I used a mix of red and golden beets)
- a small drizzle of olive oil, for roasting the beets
- 1 ripe pear, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (or more)
- a few handfuls of salad greens of your choice
- 1/4-1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional, for a heartier salad)
- micro sprouts, for garnish (also optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons walnut oil
- a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- a drizzle of honey
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Roast the beets by drizzling them with a bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and wrapping them in foil. Depending on the size and freshness of your beets, they should take from 40 minutes to 1 hour to roast in the oven. Check occasionally, when they are fork-tender they are done. Set them aside to cool… as soon as they’re cool enough to touch, run them under the faucet and slide off the skins with your hands. Chop into roughly 1/2 inch cubes and set them aside to cool completely. (To save time, I suggest doing this up to one day ahead of time and popping them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad).
- (optional step) Take the already-cooked quinoa and toast it a little, by tossing it in a small hot skillet for a couple of minutes. Drizzle a little walnut oil and some salt on it, and remove from the heat and set aside. If you’re not familiar with how to cook quinoa, I like this method.
- Assemble all salad ingredients on a platter. Drizzle with a liberal amount of walnut oil, a bit of balsamic vinegar, a little honey, and some salt and pepper. (or for a cleaner look, toss the balsamic only with the red beets, before assembling the salad).
photos by Love & Lemons