You know I love you. But let’s chat about this weather, shall we? You cannot make up your stinkin’ mind. We had temperatures in the 60s last week. This week? My nose, fingers, and toes are all frozen. Why, Pittsburgh, why?
Wait, I know why. You realize that it is beet season! You’re getting us in the mood to delight in these sweet, ruby red vegetables that I have just recently come to love.
I see what you’re doing, Pittsburgh, and I respect your effort. Can you just mind my toes when I’m walking to class tomorrow?
Lots of love,
I only started to love beets after I tried the roasted variety. Growing up, I was used to the mechanically-diced nonsense that came from a can and tasted like dirt. Little did I know that one taste of a roasted beet could change the biggest beet rival to a drinker of the “beet kool-aid.” How do I know this? Well, it happened to me. And it happened with this salad.
Sienna Sulla Piazza is a wonderful Italian restaurant in the fabulous Market Square of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If you’re ever in the area, or if you’re hungry for house-made pasta, comforting flatbreads, or the best salad you will ever put in your mouth, I suggest making a stop. I go with my friends, I go with my family, and heck, I’ll go with you. I love Sienna.
This salad is unique in a few ways:
The dressing is a light white balsamic vinaigrette. You want to lightly coat the greens so that they aren’t too soggy and to accentuate the other salad ingredients. The recipe makes more than you’ll need for this salad, so I suggest either making multiple salads, or using the dressing as a marinade for some yummy grilled veggies.
Sliced almonds are one of my favorite salad toppers because they add so much crunch. We toast them for this salad to add even more depth of flavor. Almonds are sososo good for us, as they are full of protein and healthy fats. They even lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Talk about a nutrient powerhouse!
My favorite ingredient in this salad is the almond butter. I was so confused by this brown substance on the bottom of my plate the first time I ordered this salad at Sienna, but once I tasted it, I totally understood why it was added. Not only did it act as some sort of adhesive (think salad glue), it added such a nice and unexpected creamy texture to the salad.
Mixed greens were my greens-o-choice for this salad, but use whatever you have on hand. I believe Sienna uses frisee in their dish, but the mixed greens were just as wonderful.
Last, the beet. Not only are they gorgeous – they can be found in vibrant red or golden varieties at my grocery store -, they are full of antioxidants (vitamin C), minerals, and fiber. Don’t be afraid. I know you’re scarred by those crazy canned beets. Try them roasted. Candy, I tell you. They taste like candy.
If you’re feeling cheesy, add some goat cheese. Beets and goat cheese naturally compliment one another. I tend to leave it out, as I can only take tiny doses of the pungent goat cheese, but feel free to add as much (or as little) as you wish!
This salad is so satisfying and unique, not to mention abundant in wintery healthy goodness. Thank you, Sienna, for serving as the inspiration for this beautiful salad!
Almond Butter Beet Salad
|Prep:||Yield: 1 serving||Total:|
A beautiful, seasonal, and healthy salad with a unique twist!
- For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- For the salad:
- 1 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
- 1 Tbsp. roasted natural almond butter (just almonds + salt in the ingredients list. I like a coarsely ground variety here)
- 1 handful mixed greens
- 2 medium roasted beets, diced
- Goat cheese, optional
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and honey/maple syrup. Set aside.
- Toast the almonds: Place the sliced almonds in a dry, small saucepan over medium-low heat. Toast until fragrant and slightly browned. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad: Place the mixed greens in a bowl, and toss with 1/2 Tbsp. of the dressing. Store the remaining dressing in the fridge for future use.
- Spread almond butter on the bottom of your plate. Place the mixed greens on top, followed by the sliced almonds, beets, and optional goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Salad inspired by Sienna Sulla Piazza - Pittsburgh, PA.
Dressing adapted from Gimme Some Oven
To make vegan: use maple syrup and omit cheese
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