A fresh, vibrant salad perfect for Spring.
Because sometimes you just need a good salad. Am I right?
I actually created this salad on a whim.
A couple of Monday’s ago, it was snowing. Hard. In April. This has seriously been the longest winter EVER.
But anyways. I knew it was supposed to snow a little that day, but I underestimated how much snow we would get. I hadn’t had a chance to go to the grocery store yet, but I was stuck inside. It forced me to make lunch with what I had on hand…
…which led to the creation of this gorgeous, delightful salad. I’m not going to say this makes me happy we had snow in April. But at least something good did come from it.
It also goes to show that it’s totally possible to make great meals from what we already have in our fridge. It just takes a little imagination and creativity.
Let’s put together this salad.
My favorite part about this salad is the dressing. I had a pint of blueberries in my fridge and the idea of a blueberry vinaigrette just kind of popped in my head.
It’s super easy to make. You just add some fresh, ripe blueberries, champagne and balsamic vinegar for acidity, a touch of orange juice for freshness and sweetness, a touch of honey for a little more sweetness, and olive oil to to emulsify the dressing and bring it all together. I also always add a pinch of sea salt to my dressings to help bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.
This dressing turned out magical. It’s sweet and tart in flavor and has a pourable but slightly chunky consistency from the blueberry skins. It works so great on a salad because the chunky dressing clings to the nooks and cranny of the lettuce, giving you a pop of dressing in every bite.
Next, we need to roast the beets.
Ok, the big question: do you love or hate beets? It seems beets are a very polarizing vegetable. People LOVE or HATE them. I’ll admit, I’m obsessed! They are earthy but also slightly sweet. When roasted, they have a lovely tender texture. So so good. Plus, beets have this beautiful dee purple color that adds to the beauty of the salad.
For the salad, I thinly sliced a large peeled beet. I tossed the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a little allspice. Allspice has a warm nutty flavor that pairs well with the earthiness of the beets.
Roast the beets for 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through. I also recommend checking on them occasionally so they do not burn (since they are sliced thin, they will burn faster than if in chunks).
Once you take out the beets from the oven, immediately drizzle with fresh orange juice. This helps tenderize the beets further and add a little more sweetness (which helps tame the earthy flavor and bring out their natural sweetness).
If you hate beets, try this method of cooking. I promise it’s delicious and may bring you to the beet lover side!
Last step is assembling the salad.
First, toss the lettuce and dressing together to make sure the lettuce is evenly coated in the deliciousness. Next, arrange all of the ingredients on top. If serving to guests, I recommend arranging the ingredients in sections – it provides a pretty effect and let’s your guest know exactly what’s in the salad.
The beauty of salads is they are customizable to your liking. If you are in the hate beets camp, you can totally omit the beets from your salad. You can also add more or less of any of the ingredients you like. Heck, you can add in totally new ingredients if it sounds good to you. Have fun with it!
Good news, Spring has finally sprung in Chicago, and it looks like no more snowed in days (fingers crossed). It also means I will be making many more delicious salads, like my berry beat salad, my grape arugula salad, and many many more.
Berry Beet Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette
- ¾ cup blueberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- A pinch sea salt
- 2 cups mesclun and arugula mix
- 1 large beet peeled and cut into slices
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon all spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dash of pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- 2 tablespoons feta
- 1 radish thinly sliced
- 1/2 avocado sliced
To make the dressing, add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until all the ingredients are well combined. Set Aside. *
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle sliced beets with olive oil, allspice, salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through. Check occasionally to make sure they do not burn. Once beets are cooked, remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh orange juice. Set Side.
Assemble salad by placing lettuce at the bottom of a large serving bowl. Pour in desired amount of dressing and toss so all lettuce is well coated. Top with remaining ingredients.*
Serve and Enjoy!
* add more blueberries if want a thicker dressing. The dressing will be chunky from the skins of the blueberries. If you prefer no skins, you can run the dressing through a sieve. *The measurements of salad ingredients are meant only to be used as a guide. You can add as much or as little of the ingredients as you wish. Salads are easily customizable, so you can remove and add any ingredients your prefer (have fun with it!).