You know that moment when it’s clear you’ve grown up? For some, it may be writing a check for the security deposit on that first apartment. Or maybe it happened a bit later, say, realizing “I want my mommy” is no longer something you say but something that is said about you. I’m years past these milestones and yet still longed for that elusive feeling of adulthood. I reasoned that it may never come.
Earlier this summer, I celebrated a big birthday. The kind with a zero. The kind that makes your friends ask for an entire year how you’ll celebrate. On the evening of my big old birthday, I dined al fresco with my husband and sons at an adorable French bistro. As cliche would have it, a wave of maturity washed over me as I took in the mild June air. But it wasn’t my age. It was that I had finally come around on beets, a food I’d despised since childhood. As the fork pierced tender roasted beets and crunchy pistachios, dragging them through a creamy layer of cold yogurt before stabbing slices of orange and crisp leaves of lettuce, I suddenly felt just a little older. I’d always thought beets taste like dirt. They still do, but now I relish the earthy flavor. I rushed home to make the salad on my own.
I used only golden beets in creating the recipe, though the original version included red beets as well. Mix and match to your heart’s content.
- 1 pound golden beets (about 1 large), peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for dressing
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 medium oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup mixed greens
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the beets in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Spread beets onto a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt. Roast on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- While the beets are cooling, prepare the yogurt by stirring in the pressed garlic, lemon juice and a little pinch of salt. These additions tell your tongue “this isn’t your breakfast yogurt.” I think your tongue will smile…mine did. Now is a good time to peel and slice oranges, shell your pistachios and chop your chives. My favorite way to remove the peel and pith of an orange is to use a sharp knife to slice off the ends, then down the sides following the curve of the fruit. Be sure to remove the bitter white pith and cut down to the fruit.
- To assemble the salad, spread half the yogurt on each of two salad plates. Smooth it so it covers the bottom of the plate. Arrange half the beets on top of each plate, then the orange slices in and around the beets. Top each plate with half the mixed greens, half the pistachios and the chopped chives. Drizzle the red wine vinegar over the salads, then add a drizzle of olive oil. Serve.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alicia Sokol is a photographer and writer living in Washington, DC. She authors the blog Weekly Greens, developed to help busy families take the guesswork out of planning and creating fresh, seasonal weeknight meals. With no formal culinary training and little in the way of special equipment, Alicia’s style is geared to home cooks who, like herself, just want to eat well without a lot of fuss. Alicia’s work has appeared in a number of publications including Washingtonian Magazine, The Washington Post and Daily Candy Kids. She lives in the city with her husband and two young sons. Learn more about Alicia via Weekly Greens or follow her on Twitter (@weeklygreens) or Instagram (@aliciasokol).