Let’s talk salad.
I think salads are one of the most underestimated foods. They are served as a side dish or pre-course, a “requirement” that you must have in order to indulge in the main course. Eat your veggies, and then you can have the meat and potatoes. But there is so much more that we can do with salad – it doesn’t have to be iceberg lettuce and croutons with ranch.
Salad is also incredibly versatile, in that you can create a salad to match virtually any flavor or meal that you want – from Mexican to Thai! This is a dish that can meat any one person’s flavor preferences.
So how do you go about building a salad? Well, I like to start with the base. Do you want lots of crunch, or a more leafy feel? For this particular salad, I was craving a bit of a crunch – but not too much. This meant that a healthy mix of kale and romaine lettuce would be the perfect base.
The rest of the inspiration from this salad came from the fall days that are suddenly upon us – I wanted a salad, but I am also now in the mindset of root vegetables and powerful spices (my typical fall flavors). Keeping with the mood, I decided on beet root and onion, which were partially roasted in the oven before added to this fall salad.
The dressing I believe, is equally as important as the salad itself. The dressing determines the flavor of the salad – will it be fresh and lite or creamy and heavy?
With this dish, I decided to make a simple balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette with cilantro and lime. Mmmm Mmm Mmm. YUM!
Overall very simple, this fresh fall salad will be good as a side dish or a main course!
1 large beetroot
1 small head romaine lettuce
1 yellow onion
1 bunch kale
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp agave
Pre-heat your oven to Broil on High.
Ready a baking sheet (make sure it has a lip around the edge, otherwise the beet juice will spill over the sides!) by spraying with cooking spray or greasing with olive oil.
Peel and chop the beet – I prefer small squares for easier bite-sizes, but the size and shape is ultimately up to you! Spread the beets on the baking sheet once chopped.
Next peel and chop your onion – for this salad I left the onion in thin short strips to add a bit of a texture difference in the salad. Once chopped, spread the onions out on the baking sheet on top of the beets. Slide the veggies into the oven and broil for roughly 10 minutes. You want the beets and onion to soften, but not loose all texture. The onions will be slightly translucent.
Next, rinse and chop the kale and lettuce and place into a large salad bowl. Make sure to mix the two greens together once in the bowl.
Now move onto your salad dressing while the veggies finish roasting. In a bowl, combine your balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder (all spices add to taste), and agave. Whisk together with a fork, and then add in about 1/4 cup of cold water. This will counteract the vinegar making the dressing more mild.
Once combined well to taste (making sure your seasonings are on point), add in the cilantro. Set aside (in the fridge) until you are ready to serve your salad. If you mix in the dressing too early, the lettuce will become soggy.
Once the roasted beets and onions are finished, set aside to cool and then combine with the greens in your salad bowl.
This is best served completely chilled, so make sure you prepare in time to let the beets and onions cool down.