Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Fantastically Easy Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

When I was in Chicago earlier this month, my sisters and I had the opportunity to eat in some pretty fabulous restaurants. Both evenings (in different venues) we ordered beet salad as an appetizer...obviously a family favorite! I had had beet salad in Ireland this past August as well and it's been on my mind ever since. I came across some luscious and large beets in the supermarket last week and I decided to procrastinate no longer.

I've made beets before from scratch and I always found it a messy process. When you boil them the water tends to get a deep beet red (no pun intended) and any spillage stains clothing and counter tops, temporarily of course, but it does make a mess. This time I decided to roast them. I took the three large beets, wrapped them in parchment paper and sealed them with aluminum foil. I set the oven to 375 degrees and placed the wrapped beets on a cookie sheet. They were done in about an hour and were tender and much easier to work with.

Beets belong to the same family as chard and spinach and actually beet leaves have more nutritional value than beets themselves, though beets and beet greens are very powerful cleansers and builders of the blood. Betacyanin is the phytochemical in beet that gives it its rich 'amethyst' color that significantly reduces homocysteine levels. Beets are loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. The greens have a higher content of iron compared to spinach. They are also an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium and iron. Its iron content, though not high, is of the highest and finest quality that makes excellent food that is blood building. This renders it highly effective in treating many ailments caused by our toxic environment and surrounding. The beet is also a remarkable source of choline, folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, fiber and carbohydrates in the form of natural digestible sugars.

Beets have long been known for its amazing health benefits for almost every part of the body. 
  • Acidosis: Its alkalinity is essential and effective in combating acidosis.
  • Anemia: The high content of iron in beets regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells and supplies fresh oxygen to the body. The copper content in beets help make the iron more available to the body. A great blood builder.
  • Atherosclerosis: This wonderful crimson juice is a powerful solvent for inorganic calcium deposits that cause the arteries to harden.
  • Blood pressure: All its healing and medicinal values effectively normalizes blood pressure, lowering high blood pressure or elevating low blood pressure.
  • Cancer: Betaine, an amino acid in beet root, has significant anti-cancer properties. Studies show that beets juice inhibits formation of cancer-causing compounds and is protective against colon or stomach cancer.
  • Constipation: The cellulose content helps to ease bowel movements. Drinking beets juice regularly will help relieve chronic constipation.
  • Dandruff: Mix a little vinegar to a small cup of beets juice. Massage it into the scalp with your fingertips and leave on for about an hour, then rinse. Do this daily till dandruff clears up. Warning: you will smell awful during this hour!
  • Detoxification: The choline from this wonderful juice detoxifies not only the liver, but also the entire system of excessive alcohol abuse, provided consumption is ceased.
  • Gastric ulcer: Mix honey with your beets juice and drink two or three times a week on an empty stomach (more frequently if your body is familiar with beets juice). It helps speed up the healing process.
  • Gall bladder and kidney ailments: Coupled with carrot juice, the superb cleansing virtues are exceptional for curing ailments relating to these two organs.
  • Gout: Another ailment that can be greatly helped by the cleansing that beets have to offer.
  • Liver or bile: The cleansing virtues in beets juice is very healing for liver toxicity or bile ailments, like jaundice, hepatitis, food poisoning, diarrhea or vomiting. A squeeze of lime with beets juice heightens the efficacy in treating these ailments.
  • Varicose veins: In similar ways that it helps to keep the elasticity of arteries, regular consumption of beets juice also helps prevent varicose veins. WOW! 
The recipe below calls for goat cheese and candied walnuts. I'd come across directions to make candied nuts and thought I'd give that a try as well. So easy and much less expensive than buying them ready-made!! Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to try out a few recipes for the upcoming holiday season. This one will definitely be served this Christmas because of it's great, rich color, health benefits  and the fact that I can make it a few days ahead.

Beet Salad With Goat Cheese and Walnuts

3 large fresh beets
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup maple syrup
salt, pepper to taste
small package goat cheese

For beets:
  • Peel roasted beets and chop into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Marinate in olive oil and balsamic vinegar for 2 hours (or overnight)  to cool.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
For walnuts:
  • In saucepan heat maple syrup
  • Off the flame, add walnuts and  stir to coat
  • Refrigerate until set.
To assemble:
  • Shred lettuce.
  • Put a half cup of beets on top and crumble goat cheese on top.
  • Top with candied walnuts

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