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Who says summer salads get to have all the fun? This winter salad is vibrant, bold, and just the cure for your January blues.
I used to be an excellent multi-taster. Or maybe, upon reflection, it was by default. When I was a new mom of two under two, multi-tasking wasn’t so much a choice as it was a necessity. You become the master of baby-on-hip, one-handed everything-ing. Let me tell you, MacGyver had nothing on me as a young mom. I could feed the baby, prep “grown-up” dinner, belt out some very distracting tunes, all while putting away the pots and pans my toddler pulled out of the cabinet (again). Then the bathing, the reading, the singing, and the cleaning. The constant, never-ending cleaning. And yet somehow it all got done. I was on it.
And now those chubby toddlers are all limbs and angles. They set their own alarm clocks and are on auto-pilot in the morning. (Or assisted auto-pilot…is that a thing?) I still seem to require a vat of coffee to only barely get through a piss-poor work out on the elliptical (I use the term “work out” very loosely right now) and set out on my very solitary day.
Oh, but I have lists. Boy do I have lists. I have lists broken out by day and week, even aspirational vs. functional lists. And yet even with fewer distractions during the day, I don’t seem to be making nearly the progress that I expected in all my kid-freeness. Is it that I only work best against the clock, like in those college cramming days, or proving-myself-office-deadline days, or (pretty please to the gods of sleep) down and out by 7 pm toddler days?
I have managed to create some self-imposed deadlines, which because I’m the consummate rule-follower, I typically adhere to. But these big, sort of “boil the ocean” goals seem to keep getting pushed down the page in favor of those easily executable daily tasks. Maybe it’s me. Or (and I’m favoring this line of thinking), it’s just January. Right? I mean…
A. it’s cold.
B. we’re still decompressing post holiday.
C. it’s cold!
D. i’m just groggy from all the comfort food.
So, if you agree that maybe it’s January sabotaging our productivity, then maybe it’s time to switch it up. Feast on a little brain food if you will. Let’s make today a salad day. A bold, in your face, packed full of flavor and energy, salad. We’ll start with beets; beautiful, roasted golden beets! These beets get tossed with peppery arugula, jammy roasted grapes, toasted walnuts, a little salty pecorino, and a bold mustard vinaigrette. Oh, and mint…please don’t leave out the mint.
There is no way I can make any excuses after eating this nutrient-rich salad. In fact, post-photographing this salad I sat down and had a big bowl for lunch. And guess what? Not long after lunch I got busy and subsequently pulled my little pencil over two substantial line items. Okay, okay, so I had a cup of coffee too, but I swear it was this salad that yanked me out of my fuzzy January funk. Let’s go with it because I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a healthy, tasty bite over a crusty, whiney toddler for inspiration any day.
- 8 oz golden beets (about 3 small)
- 8 oz red seedless grapes
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 5 oz baby arugula
- 1 Tbsp fresh mint, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 2 Tbsp pecorino romano, crumbed
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place beets on a large sheet of foil and enclose the beets, forming a little package with the foil.
Roast for about 45 mins or until beets can be easily pierced with a fork.
While the beets are roasting, scatter the grapes on a nonstick foil lined sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20-25 mins until softened and just beginning to burst.
Allow the beets to cool and then peel them with a paring knife. You can use gloves or hold with a paper towel, being careful not to stain everything with the beet juice.
Slice beets and set aside.
Whisk the mustard, honey, vinegar and salt and pepper together until blended.
Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking until emulsified. (Alternatively blend all ingredients in a food processor until blended.)
Toss the arugula with the beets, grapes, walnuts, mint, pecorino and dressing (to taste). Serve!