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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Balsamic Beet Salad with Toasted Macadamia Nuts

I love beets. Love, love, love them! I can't quite remember when it happened, but what I do remember is going from dislike to love was an overnight sensation.

My relatives were beet farmers and every time we visited their amazing farm the smell of the beets drove me mad. Funny that now I can remember that earthy smell and long for it.

The question now is not whether to eat them, but how to prepare them. A beet carpaccio? A beet and chickpea salad? A chocolate beet mousse torte?

Beets take so well to a simple vinaigrette it's almost too easy. I started there, but wanted to add just a little further texture to them - using toasted macadamia nuts gave the beets a little sweetness and life. Macadamia nuts are not as hard as other nuts so the soft crunch adds to the salad rather than distracts from it. The second technique that gives this beet salad variety is mixing part of the vinaigrette with a bit of Greek Yogurt, creating a tiered salad dressing and flavor profile.

Give in to the earthy, sweet beet with this Fat and Happy Balsamic Beet Salad. You may actually find you really enjoy them.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques:  Wear gloves while peeling the roasted beets unless you want to have red stained hands for a day or two (which I don't mind so much.)

Balsamic Beet Salad 
with Toasted Macadamia Nuts

5 roasted beets
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbls balsamic vinegar (I used a flavored balsamic, cinnamon pear, but plain will work great too!)
2 Tbls honey
2 Tbls olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain or try vanilla for an interesting flavor twist)
handful of toasted macadamia nuts

Wrap the beets in tin foil and roast in a 425 degree oven until just fork tender. Peel when cool enough to handle and cut into quarters.

Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, honey and olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Place the beets in the vinaigrette and set aside for at least 10 minutes. 

When ready to serve, place the beets in a serving dish and pour three-quarters of the dressing over the beets. Whisk the remaining dressing with the Greek yogurt. Drizzle the yogurt vinaigrette over the beets and top with crushed macadamia nuts. Serve while warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

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