I promised a vegetarian recipe and here it is. Unexpected and born out of necessity I was pretty pleased with how this turned out.
This has been an unpredictable and crazy summer following the exact same kind of year. Don’t let the travel blogs fool you, there is lots going on and it has been way too long since I have had the luxury of planning an organized caper in the kitchen like this one here or, for that matter even making this recipe for spaghetti and meatballs that to date has been the most viewed of all of my recipes.
Cooking of late, because I’ve been alternating between busy and tired, has been a group effort by the family heavily supplemented by the local pizza parlour. As a follow up, this fall you can expect a “get healthy” blog post once I pull myself back onto the treadmill and Fitbit tracker when I try to switch from summer stretchy clothes back to real pants and the pending moment of reckoning arrives. Circle that date, let’s say the second Tuesday in September.
So, necessity came when I joined a CSA group this year which means community sponsored agriculture. Basically you pay up front for a growing season worth of fresh produce from a local farmer. I love it, fresh local veggies every week from June to October on average. It’s a bit of a luxury, but for the best reasons. We are supporting local business and making healthy food choices all at once. It is weather dependent and not without risk, but that, along with never knowing what is coming in your order makes it kind of fun.
The deal I make with my husband is this though: If I’m going to sign up for the box, then we have to use up every item to make it cost effective. Sometimes that’s easier than others. Pea, potatoes, and spinach are easy to use. Garlic scapes require a little more creativity but make a lovely pesto which stocks my freezer for cold days when I crave a memory of fresh tasting food. One year a box delivered callaloo for a few weeks which are amaranth greens from the Caribbean. First I had to figure out what they were and then how to cook them in a way my family would eat them. For the record-delicious.
This time I was dealing with an abundance of rhubarb. From the CSA box, and from a friend’s garden. Honestly more rhubarb than I could use, I had already made two or three big batches of rhubarb sauce, which were great in plain yogurt, smoothies, and on ice cream. I did not feeling like baking and I need a new use.
I was thinking about what pairs with rhubarb that I had on hand and thought of oranges, then I though about what I had on hand to pair with oranges, and got beets. A trifecta of things in my fridge that needed to be eaten. Perfect.
Next stop was Pinterest to see if such a recipe exists and surprisingly yes, a very few recipes for salads with goat cheese which would have been awesome but I didn’t have any. It was enough though to let me know a salad, however unlikely might work.
I boiled, peeled and cubed the beets and put them in the fridge to cool. Next, I cubed and slightly boiled the rhubarb to soften it ever so gently, drained it and threw it in the fridge. Finally, I peeled and cubed a few blood oranges and put them aside.
Next, I put greens on the plates, topped them with the beets, oranges, and rhubarbs, and then all of that with a healthy sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Finally, the thing that drew it all together was a drizzling of blackberry flavoured balsamic vinegar. Raspberry balsamic is easier to find and would work just as well. I’m a big fan of flavoured olive oils and balsamic vinegars, which you can read about in this recipe for roasted beets and sweet potatoes.
This worked really well, it was a new combo to the table and happily received by everyone. I do think that goat cheese would elevate this from good to awesome, you can try it and let me know. Lesson learned that it’s good to try new things.
- Rhubarb, diced and boiled for two to three minutes
- Beets, boiled until soft and peeled and diced
- Oranges, peeled and diced (I used blood oranges)
- Greens (I used spinach)
- Pumpkin seeds, raw
- Balsamic vinegar (I used blackberry but raspberry would be great)
Dice everything the same size and keep them in the fridge so they are cold when you prep the salad.
Pile the greens on a plate, top with beets, oranges and rhubarb. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top and then drizzle the vinegar over everything. Serve.