Arugula, Beet, Feta, Pecan Salad with Quick Balsamic Dressing

I know, the name of this post (and recipe) isn’t very exciting, but I couldn’t think of anything cool enough for this simple, but deceptively delicious salad. Amazing Arugula Salad? Nah. Mouth-Watering Beet Salad? Too misleading (sounds like a mostly-beet salad). Nope…I decided to keep the name straightforward to match the preparation. Eats this tasty shouldn’t be this easy to put together…

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I put together this salad on Sunday afternoon based completely on what I had in my refrigerator at the time. I lucked out and got to take home a couple leftover ingredients from the farm-to-table dinner on Saturday (suh-weet, right? Thank you Jaime & Courtney!). I was really excited to be given the leftover beets. Beets + Salad = Foodie Heaven. If you don’t agree then you probably just haven’t had them cooked right. They’re so underappreciated, but so good! I knew those beets would be going into a salad soon, but I didn’t know it would be less than 24 hours after the dinner.  :P

Did I need more than beets and arugula to make a delicious salad? Not really (hello, remember this one?!), but feta added some nice creaminess and the pecans added some crunch. And since I’ve recently picked up a particularly taste bottle of balsamic at the farmer’s market, I’ve been putting it on a lot of my eats, salad dressings included. Thusly, the dressing was a no-brainer.

So easy, so right. Nom!

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Arugula, Beet, Feta, Pecan Salad

This salad makes a great use of leftover roasted beets. The key to ease of preparation is having the beets ready already. If you don’t have leftovers, you actually can get ready-t0-eat beets at some grocery stores (I think I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s). The combination of beets and arugula is particularly tasty, but feel free to switch out the greens for something else (no, I don’t recommend leaving off the beets! hehe). Heck, you could even switch out the cheese and nuts for different types. Tweak the combination of ingredients to your taste.

I prefer this salad as a side or light lunch/snack.

*Vegetarian* *Vegan if you leave the cheese off* *Maybe GF, too? Does anyone know?"*

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups arugula (I like to quadruple wash mine and dry it in a salad spinner)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup roasted beets, cut into small pieces (click here to learn how to roast your own)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 2-3 tablespoons pecans (toast them for an extra flavor boost)
  • Quick Balsamic Dressing, recipe follows

Directions:

  1. You can mix all the ingredients up, but I prefer to layer mine, starting by piling the arugula leaves in a tall pile on a large plate.
  2. Place beets around the arugula leaves.
  3. Sprinkle feta over the salad.
  4. Sprinkle pecans over the salad.
  5. Drizzle salad with Quick Balsamic Dressing and enjoy!

***

Quick Balsamic Dressing

I’ve heard different things about proportions of oil to balsamic. I found one-to-one worked ok for this salad, but maybe that’s because I really, really like balsamic. Use a really good quality balsamic for the best flavor.

*Vegan* *Probably GF, too?*

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle salt, about 1/8 teaspoon
  • dash of fresh-cracked pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle in extra virgin olive oil while whisking until mixture is emulsified.
  2. Add additional salt and pepper, if needed.

***

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What underappreciated ingredient are you going gaga for right now? Mine is beets!! :)

Cookies ‘N Cream Green Monster Smoothie (Energy Boosting)

If you’ve never stuffed a handful of baby spinach into a smoothie, then you’re missing out. Adding spinach to a smoothie is hands down one of the easiest (and sneakiest…hehe…shhh) ways to get your spinach serving in for the day.

Any why eat spinach? Check out this quote from whfoods.com:

Spinach is an excellent source of bone-healthy vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and calcium; heart-healthy folate, potassium, and vitamin B6; energy-producing iron and vitamin B2; and free radical-scavenging vitamin A (through its concentration of beta-carotene) and vitamin C.

So basically…you should eat spinach because it’s good for you. Yep…just like mom said. Parents…they’re always right!

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Anywho, if you’re on the fence on trying spinach, then try this recipe on for size. I promise, you won’t taste the spinach at all. Just chocolate-y-creamy goodness.

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This smoothie has a pretty short and healthful ingredient list: banana, milk of some sort (I used vanilla soy), cookies, ice…

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…and the star ingredient – spinach!

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I know, I know Green-Monster-first-timers. It looks scary, but it’s good. Trust me!

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Cookies ‘N Cream Green Monster Smoothie (Energy Boosting)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The Green Monster signature ingredient is spinach (or kale). The vegetable is almost tasteless and imparts that gorgeous green color on the smoothie. Fun, right? Add more spinach for a deeper green color.
It’s a healthy smoothie (with both a fruit and vegetable serving) hiding behind a handful of cookies. Sneaky, sneaky! ;)
*Vegan if you use vegan cookies*
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1½ – 2 cups loosely packed spinach (or kale)
  • 1 banana (a frozen banana will give you a thicker consistency, but non-frozen works, too)
  • 1 cup vanilla non-dairy milk, sweetened (or use unsweetened milk, dairy or non-dairy – just also add a drop of vanilla and your sweetener of choice, to taste)
  • 2 cubes ice
  • ¼ cup chocolate cookies (or sub chocolate/vanilla sandwich cookies and use non-sweetened milk and vanilla extract – see notes)
Instructions
  1. Place spinach, banana, milk, and ice in the blender.
  2. Cover and blend until banana/ice is processed and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add cookies to the blender, re-cover, and blend until cookies are chopped finely, about 30-60 seconds. Optional – sprinkle an extra cookie, crushed into crumbs/small pieces, on top before serving.
  4. Enjoy!
Notes
Easily multiplies for additional servings, if needed!

I found some great chocolate cookies at Trader Joe’s that were not only tasty and crunchy but also not as filled with chemicals and additives as some other options.

***
If you like this recipe, then you may also enjoy:

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Have you ever added spinach to your smoothie? What did you think about it?

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