Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Beet Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Arugula Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios
Arugula Beet Balancing Act

Recipe Adapted from Points Plus Cookbook

Arugula is a misunderstood vegetable, at least at my house. A favorite of farmers and home gardeners because it grows like crazy and reseeds itself, its taste is distinctively sharp if not downright harsh. Throughout the summer its taste gets stronger, until some otherwise easygoing family member might shout, “No more arugula in salads! It tastes like dirt.” While that statement might not be entirely accurate (at least from the dirt I’ve tasted), I can appreciate the sentiment. Arugula’s strong flavor and tough texture need to be balanced with other equally strong flavors and textures. Enter beets, goat cheese, orange and vinegar.

Spoon Scraping Beets from Food Processor into Bowl
Adding Beets to Dressing
This recipe is adapted from Weight Watchers’ Points Plus Cookbook. It was originally made with watercress, and equally misunderstood, if more expensive, counterpart to arugula. Weight Watchers imbeds finely chopped pistachios in melted goat cheese to serve as the salad topping. I simply scatter crumbled goat cheese and whole pistachios on top. I recommend serving these toppings on the side, so that diners can add the amount that they like. If you add toppings to the salad before serving, the beets turn both toppings pink. Pink goat cheese is rarely appetizing, and in fact doesn’t look at all like cheese. Use a larger amount of cheese if you serve the salad as a main dish—or if you love lots of cheese. The smaller amount of cheese works fine for side salads.

Goat Cheese, Pistachios, and Chives on top of Salad
Closeup of Salad Toppings
Beet Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios
serves 4

1 – 1¼ lbs. red beets
1 large orange
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. honey
¼ tsp. salt
4 cups arugula, washed and trimmed
2 – 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
2 – 3 tbsp. pistachio nuts
Chopped chives, optional garnish

Wash and peel the beets. Shred beets in the food processor, or by hand.

Zest or grate the orange rind and set aside. Juice the orange and put orange juice in medium bowl.

Whisk apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey and salt with orange juice until well blended. Whisk in orange zest.

Add beets to dressing and toss. Let sit 20 minutes to blend flavors, tossing occasionally.

Divide arugula between 4 plates. Top each plate with ¼ of the marinated beets.

Top salads with goat cheese, pistachios, and chives and serve immediately, or serve salads as is with goat cheese, pistachios, and chives on the side.

Man's Hand holding Whisk over Dressing
Man-made Dressing

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