salad Archives - Birdseed Kitchen

Roasted Beet, Walnut, and Gorgonzola Salad

Roasted Beet, Walnut and Gorgonzola Salad

A hearty winter salad made from roasted beets, toasted walnuts, and creamy gorgonzola with a lightly herbed olive oil vinaigrette.

Roasted vegetable salads keep me eating salads in the winter, when I don’t necessarily want a bowl of cold greens. This Roasted Beet, Walnut and Gorgonzola salad is a little bit salad, and a little bit side dish.

I love beets, and they’re one of my favorite vegetable to roast. We especially love to spiralize them, which speeds up the roasting time, and honestly, makes them just a little more fun to eat. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can also slice the beets or cut them into chunks. As long as they’re all about the same size, you’ll be ok. Adjust your roasting time accordingly.

There aren’t many things I like better with beets than creamy gorgonzola and toasted walnuts. They both add some protein, and walnuts have lots of healthy fats.

Yup. Toasted walnuts and creamy gorgonzola are right at home in this salad. And then it’s finished off with a simple herbed vinaigrette made with sherry vinegar. The recipe for the dressing is based on Food 52’s instructions on how to create a vinaigrette without a recipe, and their formula is easy to memorize and will forever change the way you dress salads:

3:1 (oil to vinegar) + emulsifier (dijon mustard) + sweetener (honey, agave, whatever) + herbs and seasonings

Roasted Beet, Walnut and Gorgonzola Salad

This recipe for vinaigrette will make a lot – about a cup. You won’t need a lot for each salad, just a drizzle to add a perk of acid and pull it all together. We like to keep the rest in the refrigerator in a squeeze bottle, mason jar, or cruet.

Roasted Beet, Walnut, and Gorgonzola Salad

Course Side Dish
Servings 2
Author Rachel

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 2 beets spiralized with fettuccine blade, or sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 small red onion very thinly sliced or spiralized
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp gorgonzola cheese crumbled

For the Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 heaping tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 shallot finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepare the Salad Ingredients

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Prepare the beets by scrubbing them clean with a brush and trimming the stem and root ends. If desired, spiralized them with a fettuccine blade. Or, slice them into julienne strips.

  3. Spread beets on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat, then season with salt and fresh black pepper.

  4. Bake for 18 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, being careful not to over-toast or burn them. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Prepare the Vinaigrette

  1. In a bowl or blender container, combine all ingredients except olive oil.

  2. While adding oil in a thin stream, whisk constantly until emulsified. Or, run a blender on medium-low speed and drizzle oil in through the top to emulsify.

Assemble the Salad

  1. Layer beets, slivered red onion, walnuts, and gorgonzola on plates, and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

This vinaigrette recipe is based on Food52's excellent article on How to Make a Vinaigrette Without a Recipe. Their proportions are spot-on, and learning them has opened up the possibilities for so many tasty homemade dressings.

You will have leftover dressing - this makes about a cup. We like to store the leftovers in squeeze bottles or mason jars and keep them in the refrigerator. 

Spiced Persimmon-Pomegranate Salad

We’re food people, so Thanksgiving is our holiday. Preparations begin weeks in advance. If we’re smart, a spreadsheet is involved. If we’re very smart, we prepare as much as we can in advance. (We’re usually not that smart, even with the best of intentions.)

As the turkey timer winds down, not a surface is left uncovered, not a pot left unused in the glorious ballet of kitchen chaos. All available hands are plating, mashing, whipping, and carving. The CO detector usually goes off in the middle of this madness, from using the oven and most of the burners all day. Last year, the turkey ended up resting in a hallway.

Somehow, we all land around the table, and someone says “go!” And if we’re lucky, we still have room for our plates on the table amongst the feast.

It’s not that we’re gluttonous – I just think we all want our favorites for Thanksgiving, and it’s a time when we look forward to creating all these special dishes for each other.

Spiced Persimmon Pomegranate Salad - a recipe sketch
Spiced Persimmon Pomegranate Salad – a recipe sketch

As family Thanksgivings moved from my grandma’s house to either my parents’ or my own house, old favorites came along. There’s turkey, of course, though it’s been upgraded from frozen Butterball to fresh, Amish-raised. There must always be stuffing (a.k.a. dressing) and mashed potatoes, because where else would you put the gravy? Sweet potatoes have evolved quite a bit over the years; the marshmallows of old have been replaced by ginger and maple syrup.

This carb-fest is usually balanced out by various and rotating vegetable dishes. This is where we get the most variety. Last year, my brother-in-law, Ben and his wife, Natalie, made some delicious green beans with pecans and tarragon. The previous year, Ben hand-shaved a large amount of fresh brussels sprouts and tossed them with a lemony dressing.

This year, I was looking for a fresh fruit salad to bring to Thanksgiving at my mom and dad’s, and I created this persimmon salad. Persimmons are a fruit I only recently discovered. They’ve easy to use if you can get them at the correct state of ripeness. There are no peels or seeds to discard, just remove the stem and dice them up. They pair prefectly with apples and pomegranate seeds, two other great fall fruits. The sweet-spicy dressing with ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and honey brings it all together, creating a fresh and crisp salad that pairs perfectly with your choice of Thanksgiving carbs.

Spiced Persimmon-Pomegranate Salad

This salad is also a great excuse to try this technique for seeding a pomegranate in water. What’s your favorite technique?

Spiced Persimmon-Pomegranate Salad
5 from 1 vote
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Spiced Persimmon-Pomegranate Salad


Course Salad, Side Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the salad...

  • 2 Jiro persimmons see note below
  • 1 large honeycrisp apple
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 3 tbsp fennel, minced

For the dressing...

  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 valencia orange, juiced
  • 1 generous pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Remove the stems from the persimmons and cut into a small dice

  2. Core the apple and dice into small pieces.

  3. Score the skin of the pomegranate in quarters. Fill a medium-sized bowl with water. Placing the pomegranate under water in the bowl, pull the quarters apart and gently loosen the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the pieces of white membrane will float to the top. Pour off part of the water and the membrane pieces and drain the pomegranate seeds in a colander. 

  4. In a large bowl, combine persimmons, apple, pomegranate seeds, and minced fennel.

  5. In a smaller bowl, combine ingredients for the dressing. Whisk together until brown sugar is dissolved.

  6. Pour dressing over salad, and toss gently to combine.

  7. Optional: garnish with green fennel fronds before serving.

Recipe Notes

You may find a few different kinds of persimmons in the store. I use Jiro persimmons for this salad, one of the more common varieties. They look like a slightly-flattened orange tomato. They are ripe when they feel slightly over-ripe by tomato standards, or almost gelatinous under their skin. Read more about persimmons on Wikipedia.

Jicama Grapefruit Salad with Honey Clove Dressing

Jicama Grapefruit Salad with Honey Clove Dressing

It’s solidly November, but the weather here still changes throughout each week. We’re prepared for anything, from winter-coat winds to days where you accidentally leave your jacket at work.

And speaking of work, I’ve been trying to take a lunch more often. This Sunday, I’m planning a meal prep session. I’m not sure what to cook yet, but I’ll probably make a soup, roasted veggies, a protein or two, and a crunchy salad. So I’ve been experimenting with apples and jicama, which are both easy to spiralize and pair well with the roasted root vegetables I’m planning to make.

The flavors in this salad are a bridge from early to late fall. Spiralized jicama and apples provide a juicy crunch, grapefruit adds a bitter note of winter citrus, and the sweet-spicy honey clove dressing brings spicy warmth.

Jicama Grapefruit Salad with Honey Clove Dressing

Jicama Grapefruit Salad with Honey Clove Dressing

Course Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 medium jicama, peeled
  • 1/2 honeycrisp apple, unpeeled
  • 1 pink grapefruit - peeled, segmented, and diced

Dressing

  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Spiralize the jicama and apple with the spaghetti blade. (If you don't have a spiralizer, they can be finely julienned.) Add the grapefruit.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Season with salt to taste. 

  3. Pour dressing over jicama mixture and toss to combine. Serve chilled.