I recently had a fun reunion lunch with a dear sweet friend and co-worker. It had been a while since we could sit and catch-up on all the musings of life, work, and pursuit of happiness. Such a treat. However, the biggest treat was the divine, yet simple salad I tried consisting of red and golden beets, baby arugula, quinoa, goat cheese, chives and a house-made lemonette. I do love a good salad, but this one left me wanting to run home and concoct this delicious welcome to summer. The use of simple ingredients is what won me over – it is straightforward and the ingredients blend so well together, I just know this will be a “go-to” salad for light summer salad nights or the perfect accompaniment to a summer cookout or picnic. However, the true winner is the dressing. Yes, I admit to begging for the ingredients since I knew this was the keystone to the salad. And once again, SO SIMPLE. You must try it – you will feel like a world-class chef…in bare feet. Back to the “Beet” of summer and its lovely star, The Lemonette.
4 medium beets (half red, half gold are prettiest)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups of baby arugula
4 oz. goat cheese (plain or herb)
1 cup red quinoa
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup of minced shallots
1 small clove of garlic
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey or agave, to taste (optional for sweetness)
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Fresh chives, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a medium-size pot, bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. Allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. In separate mixing bowls (so that the colors do not bleed), toss each color of the diced beets with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Spread each color of beets in an even layer on half of the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove and set aside. Prepare the dressing ingredients, except oil, and emulsify with a hand blender or in a food processor. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to mix and set aside. Rinse and dry the arugula and plate greens, beets on a large salad platter or each plate. Scatter quinoa over the greens and beets and top with goat cheese. Finally, drizzle the lemonette over the salad – it should only slightly coat the salad as a dressing (aka don’t drench in dressing!) Serve.