Thursday, March 21, 2013

Grapefruit, Beet, and Blue Cheese Salad

Well, the calendar says it's spring, even if the weather doesn't quite want to believe it. This salad is the perfect type to straddle the seasons, featuring winter produce (roasted beets, citrus), but with a light, fresh springtime presentation.

  • 12 ounces beets (about 2 beets)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups pink grapefruit segments*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice*
  • 1/4 cup crumbled vegan blue cheese (such as Veg Cuisine)
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
1. Trim the beets, leaving the roots and 1 inch of the stem on each.

2. Scrub with a brush and place in a saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes, until tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

Note: It's really too bad I'm not crafts-y, otherwise I imagine there's lots you could do with the resulting red liquid from boiling beets - it's practically begging to be used as an all-natural fabric dye.

2. Let the beets cool until you can handle them without burning your fingers.  Trim off the roots and rub off the skins, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (you'll have about 1 and 1/2 cups).  Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, peel and section 1 and 1/2 cups grapefruit over a bowl. (Yes, grapefruits peel just like oranges, even though we're more accustomed to slicing them in half and digging in with a serrated spoon).

4. Squeeze additional grapefruit sections as needed to obtain 2 tablespoons juice.  Discard the squeezed membranes.

5. Place the blue cheese in a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth.  Add the reserved grapefruit juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt, and black pepper, whisking until combined.

6. Pour the dressing mixture over the lettuce and toss gently to coat.  Divide the lettuce evenly among 6 plates (about 2/3 cup per serving).

7. Top each serving with 1/4 cup beets and 1/4 cup grapefruit sections.

*You'll probably need to buy 2 grapefruits to have enough both for whole segments, and additional wedges to squeeze for juice. The original recipe called for three grapefruit, but I would have had leftover sections and/or juice if I purchased three; two should be plenty.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (2/3 cup lettuce mixture, 1/4 cup beets, 1/4 cup grapefruit), Calories 106

Tasting Notes:
I can't say I've ever had grapefruit and beets together before, but I found the combination - although a touch odd - quite delightful. The overall taste of the salad is a bit too tart, between the vinegary dressing and tart wedges of grapefruit; consider adding agave nectar to the dressing to balance things out a bit. The salad was also wanting for a crunchy element, like walnuts sprinkled on top. But even as is, very light and pleasant.


If you don't have white balsamic vinegar, you can make this salad with regular balsamic, which I actually did later in the week. The dressing will still taste great; itjust won't be quite as pretty in the bowl:

or over the lettuce leaves:

But you'll still have a fine salad:

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