Tag Archives: salad

Money Saving Monday–Grain Salads, or “Beets, Part Deux”, otherwise known as “Totally Flaked Last Friday so Here’s a Twofer”

Guys, I’m pooped. In a weeks time I had finals, Mike’s birthday, and my band had two gigs. I’m exhausted.

I had originally planned to get an update with a second beet recipe up on Friday. Well, I didn’t. Sorry. Instead, I was busy baking this monstrosity.

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Delicious, vegan, and soooo, soooo bad for you. The man is worth it though, for sure. When a good man says, “I want a vanilla and chocolate cake mixed together with candy baked in, cookies on top, and sprinkles!” after having cheerfully taken tantrum duty for you after a near death experience (for Olive, not me), you really have no choice but to deliver.

I’m not giving you the recipe, though. I love you guys too much to let you eat that.

Anyway, conveniently enough, the second beet recipe I came up with tied into an important “Money Saving Monday” tip, which I am happy to share with you. Readers, eat more grains!

It’s summer, and salads are light and refreshing. Filling? Not so much. Confession time: I’ve never particularly cared for salads. Sure, I’ll eat an especially tempting one from time to time and I love the ones they serve at restaurants, but at home they just take more effort that I’m usually willing to put in for a side dish and require more produce than I’m willing to part with for an entire meal. I’m more of a “roast,” “steam,” or “grill,” sort of girl, myself. Besides, leaves alone are not tremendously satisfying.

Grain, however, easily solves this problem. You can make a salad out of ANYTHING readers, and I mean, ANYTHING. Have too much rice in your fridge? Make a salad. Dying to figure out what wheat berries taste like? Make a salad. Want a meal in a bowl that lasts you the whole week and won’t require you to so much as toast bread? Make a salad.

Most grains are dirt cheap. A big ol’ bag of rice, wheat berries, or barley costs, at worst, two bucks. At that, you can find a ton of different varieties, and each one has a unique texture. If you’re feeling really fun, check out the bulk food section of Whole Foods (or other natural food store) for a large variety of surprisingly affordable, nutritious whole grains. The recipes can be as simple or complicated as you want them to be.

I chose simple.

Pink Barley Salad
3 beets, roasted in two tbs of olive oil (as per these instructions), chopped into bite sized pieces.
1 cup pearled barley
1/2 or one whole cucumber, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
4 tbs lemon juice, or to taste
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Did your reserve the Olive Oil like you did last time?

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Good! You’ll need that!

Ok, this is going to be complicated. I want you to take all the ingredients, including the reserved oil, put them in a bowl, and mix them.

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The result? Beets blend well with the citrus and tomatoes, the peppers add a nice crunchiness, the barley is chewy and just right, it’s a bowl full of awesome nutrition…

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…and it turns bright pink! How cool is that? How cool would it be to bring that to a potluck? “Salad? Oh, you mean the princess salad. Yes, I made that.”

You can feel free to call it princess salad. I won’t judge. It’s the only way I could get Olive to eat it. Truth be told, she thinks she doesn’t like beets. She’ll eat pink food though.

The longer you marinate it, the better it will taste, so feel free to let this sit in your fridge over night, or even for an hour or two, before you start chowing down. Much like revenge, it’s best served cold. It will not, however, kill you.

Happy Monday, readers! I’m going to bed!

Just Beet It

Readers, beets. Beeeeeets. Beets!

Seriously, what the hell do you do with beets?

When my reader/friend, Emily, asked me what to do when she got an extraordinarily large amount of beets from her farm share, I was at a loss. Beets are not things the crunchy house is familiar with. I’ve eaten canned beets before, and they were yummy. I’ve gotten them at salad bars and enjoyed them plenty. That, unfortunately, is the end of my experience with them.

I put Olive to the task of trying to figure them out.

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She had nothing. So I gave it my best shot.

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I poked. I prodded. I became the beet.

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I had nothing.

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The only thing I knew for sure about beets, was that they were root vegetables, so I did what I would with any root veggie and decided to roast them. For science!

(Emily is a science person. She has a lab coat and everything.)

Roasted Beets and Beet Based Vinaigrette
Two Recipes in One!
1 bunch beets (probably about three large beets)
2 tbs + 1/2 tsb Olive Oil
4-6 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Wash the beets. If they’re anything like what I got at the store, they will be kind of gross. Once they are clean, cut the tops and bottoms off of them.

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I’ve heard one can eat the green leafy top part. I wasn’t about to risk it though. I had science to complete!

Quarter the beets.

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Take a minute to marvel at how awesome the inside of the beets look.

Throw them in a “roasting pan” (mine is actually just a baking pan 😦 ) and toss them with 2 tbs of oil and salt and pepper.

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The oil is overkill. The reason for that is because I thought it would be cool to use the excess oil as part of a salad vinaigrette. Good news, it was cool! If you only wanted to roast the beets you could get away with much less oil. I’ll talk about that on Friday though (TEASER).

Throw those in the oven for at least 30 minutes, or until a fork goes through them easily. During this time, you may be alerted to strange noises coming from your oven. Here’s a video that will explain: Beets are Loud. They’re easily the noisiest root veggie I’ve ever cooked.

During this time, you can assess how much your kitchen looks like a scene from CSI.

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Oh God, what have I done?

When they come out of the oven, take the beets out of the pan to cool and pour the oil into a bowl. Add the remaining half tablespoon.

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Whisk the oil and the vinegar together and add pepper to taste. Voila, you have salad dressing.

Once the beets are cool, you can peel the skin off with your hands. **A tip: Almost all root veggies peel more easily after cooking. Once they’re soft, the peels just sort of rub off. This includes potatoes!**

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So here’s the thing, you guys almost didn’t get a meal made out of these because THEY’RE DELICIOUS. Olive and I ate half of them while I tried to figure out what to put them on. I actually had to say the words, “Stop eating beets, you are going to ruin your dinner!” To myself, no less. My suggestion to Emily? Just roast these and have them on hand for snacking. My goodness, they are dee-lish!

But, if you’re feeling fancy and in need of your veggies, you can take some spinach, top it with walnuts, sliced strawberries, a handful (…ok, two handfuls) of beets, and drizzle a little vinaigrette over them.

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It is the single fanciest thing I’ve eaten all week. The acidity of the strawberries and vinegar with the odd but wonderful texture of the beet meet together beautifully. I wished I’d had some sliced oranges to throw on top, since I once had an orange and beet salad at a salad bar that was pretty amazing. Sadly, no oranges.

Still, it was super, duper yummy, and an excellent addition to the main course which was…

…um…beans and rice…

Shame.

Still, I felt pretty darn fancy while I ate the salad. I think that’s worth something, don’t you?