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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spinach Salad with Toasted Nuts, Asparagus and Roasted Beet Chips

I've always completely understood Popeye's fascination with spinach. Now, its true that what Popeye ate seemed to look like an amorphous heap of green goo that claimed to be spinach, but in reality, spinach is so versatile and healthy that I never grow tired of it and, between you and me, I eat my way through huge 3 pound bags of baby spinach weekly (unfortunately, a lot does not go a long way when you steam it so it is pretty easy to chow through that much spinach). Steamed. Sauteed. Raw. Baked. YUM.

(My 5-year old niece recently sang me a song she had learned at school about hating soggy greens, but all I could think of was how much I adore steaming a huge pot of spinach and serving it with a squeeze of lemon juice and spritz of apple cider vinegar...try it!)

Now, what I have never been known to like is beets. Beets. Deep red, messy beets that dye everything it touches and seem too messy to even bother. But then a friend of mine stayed at my apartment, went to my local farmers market and suddenly there were beets in my refrigerator that she had left behind with a recommendation on how she likes to prepare them. And every time I opened up the fridge in the next two days, there they were--sitting there, sad and lonely. Ok, fine. Beets it is. Here is where i have to admit to my friend (and you) that I followed her recommendation (sort of) and made a delicious (and I mean taaaaasty) meal using those beets...

It is easy to prepare, super healthy and the combination of flavors in this salad is most definitely a happy accident...


* 1/2 cup of raw, unsalted mixed nuts (I used almonds, cashews and peanuts, although I highly recommend adding a small handful of salted marcona almonds)
* 4 or 5 cups of raw spinach (thoroughly washed)
* 8-10 spears of asparagus, cut into 4 inch segments
* 1/2 cup edamame, shelled
* 3 beets, washed and peeled and thinly sliced
* 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (leaves taken off the twig and chopped)
* 1/2 tsp. of coarse flakes of sea salt (or to taste)
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil


* Place the thinly sliced beets on a baking tray, drizzle half of the olive oil over it and sprinkle some of the chopped rosemary on top on them and bake in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes (careful not to burn them--you want them to be thin and crispy on the outside with a little bit of soft give when you bite into them). Note: the beets pictured here were cut a little too thick and I wished I had used a mandolin to ensure thin wafers.

* Lightly toast the mixed nuts and set aside.

* Blanche the asparagus segments for 30 seconds in boiling water, strain and then sautee them with the edamame beans on high heat with the remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil for about 2 or 3 minutes (you want them to brown a little bit without overcooking the asparagus, which should retain a slight crunch for the salad!). Sprinkle the flakes of salt over the asparagus and edamame just before you plate it.

* Put the spinach on the bottom and top with the asparagus and edamame mixture, toasted nuts and surround with the beautifully-colored baked beet chips!

Serving suggestion: I used a simple balsamic vinaigrette on my salad, but just about any salad dressing would be fabulous on this salad!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't be alarmed if that red dye stays in your system for a while...if you know what I mean.