Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Roasted Beet & Basil Salad with Hot Bacon Vinaigrette

Some days I get really ambitious and spend a lot of time making a complicated meal, but most days, I really just like to keep things simple. Just a few great ingredients tossed together on a plate is really all I need. A salad encompasses many different colors, textures and flavors on one plate and in one bite! And I’m blessed to have a husband that is more than willing to make a meal out of salad and be just as satisfied as if he had eaten a steak! Well, almost as satisfied.
The inspiration for this particular salad came from the humble pig. At the farmer’s market on Saturday I picked up some great bacon from a local farmer. Truthfully I don’t think I’ve ever met a piece of pork that I didn’t like, but this bacon was some of the most flavorful, delicious bacon I have ever put into my mouth. So I used it in two ways in this salad: crumbled on top and in the vinaigrette.
Now I know you’re thinking “Bacon! Healthnuts don’t eat bacon!”. But oh yes. We do. That’s the beauty of having a balanced diet. No food is completely off limits all of the time. I crumbled up just one piece total on the salad, but this bacon was so flavorful that it permeated the entire salad. And actually, bacon fat is a very stable cooking fat, and has loads of healthy saturated fat that is absolutely essential to your bodies’ proper functioning. Don’t fear the fat people! For more info on why and how you can incorporate bacon into a healthy diet, check out this book.
The roasted beets add another layer of meaty texture and rich flavor, which is cut by the tangy Hot Bacon Vinaigrette and the punch of the red onion. Heirloom tomatoes are a complete no-brainer addition to this salad, and contribute a mellow sweetness that unmistakably shouts “summertime!!” Check out my recipe!
Yields 2 dinner-sized salads
Ingredients for the salad:
  • 3 cups mixed greens, You can use whatever you like. I used an organic pre-mix that had baby kale, spinach, baby bok choy, arugula and radicchio.
  • 2 slices of bacon, cooked to your liking. But really, let’s be honest, who can just eat 1 piece of bacon. Just cook up the whole pound and use the rest in something else.
  • 2 medium sized beets
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes. I used heirlooms in this and they were amazing. So use those if you can find them.
Ingredients for the Hot Bacon Vinaigrette

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  • Wash, peel and medium dice the beets. Place them on a sheet tray and coat with coconut oil, 1 tbsp sea salt and 2 tsp black pepper. Spread in an even layer on the tray and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally.
  • While the beats are roasting, cook your bacon. I love to cook bacon in my cast iron skillet (likethis one).
  • Prepare the vinaigrette. Now this is the technical part so pay attention. Toss the ingredients in a mason jar or container with a lid and shake it up. Taste it, and adjust seasoning. Did you catch that? Okay good.
  • Prepare your salad. Distribute the greens evenly. Toss on the onions, tomatoes and basil.
  • When the beets have cooked, distribute them amongst the salads. The hot beets will wilt the greens just a touch and it’s perfect!
  • Crumble the bacon on top of the salad and drizzle the Hot Bacon Vinaigrette. Serve and Enjoy!