Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Autumn Beet Salad with Toasted Caraway Vinaigrette

After a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend where we got to enjoy delicious meals with both of our families, I was looking forward to getting back home and eating healthy again. We got a little behind on CSA boxes with the holiday so this salad uses cabbage from week 25 and the beets from week 26, aka, the future, which I hope to blog about soon.

Also, I'm only about 75% sure I actually used caraway seeds in this dressing. It may have been some other seed. When I checked to see if I had any, I found two plastic bags with slightly different looking seeds in each, unlabeled of course. They smelled the same to me, so I went with the darker one.

We ate this salad as a big side salad. To add some carbohydrates and protein to the meal, I roasted some sweet potatoes (not the ones from this week, but next week), and bought some really good spicy pork meatballs, hot and ready straight from the Co-op. Totally random assortment of food, but it works for us.

CSA Week 25:

In the box: 1 head cabbage, 3/4 pound broccoli, 1 pound tomatoes, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 onion, 2 bell peppers, 2 pounds sweet potatoes, 2 pounds red potatoes, 2 pounds Liberty apples

I tried a new recipe for sweet potato casserole from Skinnytaste. I was intrigued by the fact that it called for crushed pineapple and agave for sweeteners, and I liked the idea that it contained no butter whatsoever. The verdict? Good, but we didn't think it had enough "wow" factor to bring it to Thanksgiving dinner. Joe wasn't a fan of the raisins.  Overall it was very healthy and easy. It made a great weeknight meal. We baked some ham to go with it, rubbed with dry mustard and brown sugar and glazed with apricot jam (recipe from Taste of Home). We scaled the recipe way down for our "perfect for two" 1 1/2 pound ham from Niman Ranch and it was delicious.

The next morning we sauteed the bulk of the CSA veggies (bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, onion, and a bit of cilantro), plus the leftover ham to make some rocking breakfast burritos. We only had two eggs in the fridge so the addition of ham and a big pile of veggies bulked it up enough for two huge burritos.

Note to self: don't leave pans on the stove that smell like ham for days at a time - your cat will eventually take notice and help himself to a tasty - albeit two day old - snack. He did not seem phased at all when I caught him on the counter licking the pan, leading me to believe this is business as usual for him. I really need to be better about doing dishes in a timely manner.

I discovered a really low maintenance lunch this past week: layer leftover rice, beans (drained/rinsed canned, or in my case we happened to have leftover beer-glazed black beans), and chopped raw broccoli in a microwave-safe Tupperware container. The broccoli will steam itself while you heat up the rice and beans, and you will have a very filling and delicious lunch for work.  If the beans had been plain, I would have added Yumm! Sauce.

Another new recipe I tried was Dijon Roasted New Potatoes from Weight Watchers. We really liked these. They took a bit longer to cook than it said, but I also had 2 pounds of potatoes to cook rather than 1 1/2 pounds like it calls for. Very little oil and lots of mustard, herbs and spices. We were out of Dijon so I substituted Sierra Nevada Stout mustard. We had these potatoes with some elk steak and sauteed kale and red bell pepper (another preview of next week's CSA).

WW Dijon Roasted New Potatoes
I used half the cabbage, some tomatoes, plus carrots and celery from last week's CSA to make a big pot of Weight Watcher's Fresh Vegetable Soup. I also found a bag of frozen Romano beans from a previous CSA in the freezer so I threw those into the pot as well. I usually just use what I have on hand rather than all the vegetables it calls for, and I always add canned kidney beans for more protein. I ate this every single day for lunch during the week of Thanksgiving in hopes that it would offset the damage from two Thanksgiving dinners.

Speaking of offsetting damage from Thanksgiving, help yourself to this cleansing and refreshing salad!

Autumn Beet Salad
adapted from Cuisine At Home - October 2008, Issue 71
serves 2 generous side salads, or 4 small side salads

Note: A mixture of golden and red beets would be pretty, if you can find them. Our CSA newsletter said that because the beets they gave us were small and organic, we didn't need to peel them, so we just scrubbed them well under running water.

1/2 pound beets (about 5-6 small) peeled and halved or quartered if large so they are all about the same size
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon apple juice
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Salt to taste
4 cups savoy or green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced or shaved
handful fennel fronds, torn

Fill a large pot with about 1 inch of water and place a steamer basket on top, making sure the water does not touch the steamer basket. Arrange the beets in the steamer basket. Cover and let them steam until tender, 35-45 minutes. Make sure the water doesn't evaporate completely. Remove the beets and let cool for a few minutes, then cut into wedges.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by whisking together the oil, vinegar, juice concentrate, mustard, caraway seeds, and salt until combined.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, fennel, and fronds with about half of the vinaigrette until coated. In a second bowl, toss the beet wedges with the other half of the vinaigrette (mixing them separately keeps the beets from staining the entire salad).

To serve, divide the cabbage mixture among plates and top with the beets. 


  1. Hi Robyn! Thanks for the nice comment! I think your blog is great too--your photos are gorgeous. I can't stop looking at the first one in this post! I look forward to reading more.

  2. I want those sweet potatoes! The salad looks really fresh and tasty with caraway seed vinaigrette.


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