Simple Beet Salad
Summer is most certainly here – hitting over 100 degrees earlier this week before the heat index! I’m trying to stay as cool as possible in the house, so avoiding the oven as much as possible. Thankfully the local farmers’ markets are BOOMING with fresh and delicious produce making it super easy to make healthy dinners that don’t require much cook time. With this simple salad the trick is to slice the beets on the thin side so that they can be cooked in under 7 minutes, nice and crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth delicious in the middle.
To make it even quicker to get dinner on the table, I prepped them the night before so that they could soak in the oils. We enjoyed these with a cold pasta salad, which had also been prepped the night before! I find it so much easier to cook right before bed (and after dessert) and since it’s cooler outside the kitchen doesn’t become a mini-furnace.
Bulgar Wheat Beet Salad
Welcome to my second post for #TripleSBites! My first post can be found here and it features some spicy Brussels Sprouts
I’ve had so much fun with this challenge – trying to think up dishes that are saucy, spicy, and sexy while still staying within the normal parameters of this blog (cheap, healthy, vegetarian). Tonight’s dish is certainly healthy, and as long as shopping in the bulk bin section of your grocery store it should be on the cheap side, while the vegetarian goes without saying- this dish can also easily go vegan by swapping the goat cheese for a soft cashew cheese or leaving it out all together. This salad is actually one of the first dishes I wanted to do, but it has gone through a few versions. The original concept involved endive boats with roasted beets, bulgur, and goat cheese which then evolved into cucumber boats stuffed with raw beets, bulgur, and goat cheese – both topped with a balsamic dressing. Yet, something always seemed to be missing. Then I received another sponsor goody, this time a bottle of Roasted Beet Vinaigrette thanks to Out of the Weeds – and finally had my missing component.
As a bonus, the dressing turned my dish a fantastic shade of pink – which is rather perfect for the upcoming holiday! The radicchio offered a tart contrast to the earthy beets while the cucumber provided a needed crunch. The fact that the dressing turned everything pink (seriously, pink!!!) just added a whole new level of awesome. Dropping the chickpeas and reducing the portion size would turn this pink treat in to a fantastic side for herb crusted tofu, fish, or chicken.
Note: I received Out of the Weeds Roasted Beets Dressing as part of the #TripleS blog challenge, which started February 2nd. I was not required to use the products, or post anything about them outside of acknowledging that I received them, so all opinions and experiences are my own.
Did I mention there are 19 (!) other awesome bloggers participating in TripleSBites?!? Make sure to check them all out:
Offal Vinegar Veggies
There’s one thing for certain: /52weeksofcooking challenges certainly force me to think outside the box. This week the challenge was “offal”, aka the parts of the animal that even the craziest of meat eaters tend to avoid. While I have indulged in a few of them, mostly while overseas and always while a guest, I knew that I was going to have to be creative when it came time to find a way to vegetarianize this challenge. Thankfully the mods are very flexible and open and extended the definition to includes parts of the vegetable that aren’t typically used. While I generally save my scraps for vegetable soup, I had a lot of cabbage pieces and so decided to toss a bunch of scraps and peels in a pot with vinegar. To make it a bit more substantial, I added some cannellini beans but these veggies would be fine sans beans along with some bbq tofu.
Certainly not your typical offal dish, but a great way for using up ingredients that might otherwise have been tossed. It’s not often that we have leftover cabbage in the house but this was a great way to use those last few leafs – and the beets scraps turned everything a fantastic shade!
I don’t believe in diets – the word alone makes me cringe. So when I saw that the first challenge for /52weeksofcooking 2015 was diet themed, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. To me a diet is something where you deprive yourself for a set amount of time from eating a certain type of (delicious) food – only to fail after a certain amount of time because deprivation is never a good thing. I fully get, and support, eating healthy foods but why not call it “healthy eating” instead of the “d” word. I’m sure there’s some sort of psychology behind all of it, but it doesn’t change the fact that I associate diet food with bland, boring, and beige dishes. Which is why I went as far as possible in the opposite direction with this healthy dip. With the Super Bowl fast approaching (go Ravens!), many people will be sitting down and enjoying feasts of chips, dips, wings, and pizza – with maybe a few vegetable trays. This dip goes great with chips, crackers, or bread to include being a fantastic addition to an otherwise boring sandwich. Plus it only involves 4 ingredients, and can be made it advance which adds to the awesome factor.
I reserved the leaves for another dish, and brought this dip as an precursor to one of the many holiday meals we enjoyed this season. I found the beanitos chips a friend had brought over for game day went fantastically while others preferred a firmer wheat cracker but as with many things there is no right answer.
Note: Beanitos has no idea who I am, and while I didn’t pay for them my friend did and they were insanely good!
Quinoa with Beets, Beans, and Berries
I still can’t believe this year is almost over – and that /52weeksofcooking is almost done (again). It’s been a fun adventure with new ingredients and techniques and cuisines, which is why I can’t wait to see what themes are picked for next year. I’m also a little behind, so today’s dish is actually from week 49 where dried fruit were the theme. I debated going with something sweet, oatmeal raisin cookies or similar, but after seeing some fantastic looking beets at the market I decided to go with something savory. After all, there is more than enough junk food this time of year! The beets I picked up still had the greens attached, however I know that’s not always the case so feel free to switch out for some swiss chard or collards.
This dish is one where layering the ingredients really comes off – and keeps the leaves from turning bright pink. I enjoyed this dish “naked” while Joe topped his with some grated Parmesan cheese, soy crumbles would also work for those wanting to add more salt to the dish. I’m more of a bitter person, which is why I loved how the tart of the cranberries went against the natural sweet of the beets.
Squash and Beet Risotto
Yep – winter is here and I’m already ready for spring. Temperatures have been unusually cold, dipping in to single digits when wind chill is included which is just way too cold for mid-November. However this is the perfect time to just stay in the kitchen and experiment with new-to-me ingredients and all sorts of flavor profiles. Or throw a bunch of random vegetables in to a dish and see what happens – which is what happened here. I had a bit of delicata squash left, along with two candy-stripped beets, and half a vidalia onion. So I went for a random grain, in this case arborio rice, and started chopping!
In order to avoid a pink blob, I held off on adding the beets until the last possible moment. Not only did this ensure they were super crispy, but it also gave the squash an opportunity to shine on its own. In the future I would most likely going for a strong squash, acorn perhaps, but there is something to be said about the subtle taste of delicata. I enjoyed my risotto topped with a bit of pepper, while Joe was more traditional and went for the Parmesan cheese.
Sweet Potato Lentil Burger (Aussie Style)
Prior to this week’s Australian challenge on /52weeksofcooking my knowledge of Australian food was limited to that I seen on TV and that which is shown on the awesome Australian show known as Dance Academy (season 3 finally on Netflix streaming!!!!!). So essentially this left me with The Outback (not happening) and salad (rather boring). Luckily there is this thing called the internet, and with that Google, which allowed me to find all sorts of delicious treats. In that search I found an unusual number of links talking about beets and burgers – which I didn’t really understand. Granted this could be because I’m only starting to tolerate beets but still, beets on a burger??? However I was intrigued and so I set off to figure out a way to do a vegetarian burger – Australian style.
For an even more authentic burger experience add some roasted pineapple and a fried egg – which was (and is) a bit too much for me. However I have to say that the spicy sauce went fantastic with the sweetness of the potatoes and the tart earthiness of the beets. Lots of contrasts in this dish but it all came together to make a fantastic meal. I served the burger with some spicy carrots – which will eventually show up on the blog. I had a fantastic time with this, so another success thanks to /52weeksofcooking.