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Hearty Roasted Beet Salad Recipe

Hearty Roasted Beet Salad Recipe

The Backstory:

This year I am participating in a CSA for the first time, and it’s all thanks to the fine folks over at Stonyfield. How’s that possible? Well, I’ll tell you. I am part of Stonyfield’s Clean Plate Club – a collective of bloggers that created recipes for and participate in Stonyfield’s marketing and outreach programs. Last fall they hosted a blogger contest asking us to create recipes from items at the farmer’s market. They asked if we could also use their yogurt in the recipe as well. Inspired by the directive, in a stroke of genius, I created an Apple Pie Smoothie recipe. Yes, that IS a good-for-you smoothie recipe. This recipe won the contest. Oh, I was so stoked because the prize was $500 toward a CSA in my local community.

But what to choose? New Orleans isn’t known for its plethora of CSAs. Sure, we have plenty of farmer’s markets, but we don’t have many programs that function like a true CSA – you pay up front for a share of the farm’s crops to be delivered over a period of time, usually a growing season. Mostly we work on the farmer’s market model here in New Orleans where people show up on market day and buy what they’d like. The closest thing I’d really seen previously was what Hollygrove does with their weekly box – people pay $25 for a box hand-selected by the staff at the market. It’s a pretty smart idea and allows people to be exposed to a variety of different items.

Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

At first I was stumped. I didn’t know of any CSAs and was having trouble finding one in my area. One day I happened to be on Twitter and saw the Grow Dat Youth Farm promoting its spring CSA farm share program. I checked it out and decided that it was the right type of CSA opportunity for me. Grow Dat is a four year old non-profit program who partners with Tulane University. Their mission is to nurture a diverse group of young leaders via the meaningful work of growing food. They employ about 40 youths (ranging from 15-19 in age) on a part time basis as a supplement to their regular school work.

Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

This sounded like a wonderful opportunity for me to participate in. I quickly got in touch with Stonyfield, and they purchased the CSA share for me. The best part of all of this is that Grow Dat’s highest share level is a $540 investment, and Stonyfield generously covered the extra $40 for me. The reason I wanted to be in on this level was that not only does it include the maximum share of vegetables, but $165 of that fee goes directly to supplementing a week’s worth of stipend for three youths that work on the farm. So not only am I getting loads of veggies at no cost to me, I am also helping to support students in the program directly. WIN!!!

Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

We’ve been picking up our box of veggies at Grow Dat since March 15th, and our term will last until June 21st. While we visit the farm each week to pick up our produce, I’d never gotten out and walked around and seen the farm. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when Leo Gorman, the farm manager, gave me a personal 30 minute tour of the farm. The property is located in City Park and encompasses seven acres, of which they actively farm an acre and a half. Last year they harvested over 8,500 pounds of food. Of that harvest amount, they sell about 60% of it to the CSA members and the public then they donate the other 40% to non-profits. To me that seems like some pretty serious tonnage for such a small space. I’m sure that’s a perfectly normal yield for a space that size, but it seems so large to me! Very impressive.

Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

Let’s go back and talk a little bit about the actual program and what the youth staff get out of it. First and foremost, the goal of the youth jobs on the farm is to act as job training and youth leadership training. Working in a farm is a great way to learn a whole host of skills, farm related and non-farm related. The youths have to apply to be part of the program like any other job. Grow Dat works with six schools – both public and private – from which they accept applicants. The program runs from January to June with the youths working on Fridays and Saturdays to help with farm tasks and to attend leadership classes. They spend half their time dealing with farm related work and the other half in a classroom setting learning about things such as health/wellness, cooking classes, nutritional content, food justice and leadership. All in all, some pretty great stuff.

Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

I love programs like Grow Dat because they aim to help address the root of some of the socioeconomic problems that exist here in New Orleans. This program seeks to include a wide range of students from different race, class, gender and geographies (parts of the city). They are looking to serve as a cross roads of culture, hard work, and idea sharing. Leo told me that they feel food is a great learning vehicle. He said that the leadership program at Grow Dat seeks to help these students build deeper skills – public speaking, conflict resolution, constructive feedback, and professionalism. To me it seems they’ve done a great job with matching the curriculum and content of the program to the goals they aim to achieve. This is such a wonderful program, and I am delighted to be affiliated with it.

Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

The Recipe:

Today I have a hearty salad for you that’s almost all locally sourced. I got the beets and greens from my Grow Dat share box. I scored the cucumber, feta cheese and green onion from Hollygrove Market and Farm. The only things I bought at the grocery store were the avocado and the ingredients for the dressing. Not bad at all! I love when I can do that with recipes.

Hearty-Beet-Salad-Recipe

Jeremy and I love beets. Today’s salad is made with Chioggia or “Candy Stripe” beets, but you can easily use regular red beets (or ANY beets) if you can’t find Chioggias. This is honestly the first time I’ve ever worked with Chioggia beets. I don’t know why the heck I waited so long! They are delicious!! They cook just like and taste just like the lovely red beets except they aren’t as messy to cook with. That’s a big win in my book. I love beets but don’t cook them often because of how messy they are. When we ate this salad, Jeremy got a double share of beets on his. He was in heaven!! The beets were perfectly fork-tender – his favorite way to have them.

Chioggia Beets From Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

Greens like chard, kale, collards and spring salad mix have been the staples of our CSA box thus far. We had a weird winter here, and as a result, many of the crops are running behind or didn’t produce as anticipated. Some weeks I get mostly greens, a few herbs, and one or two veggies. But the greens are abundant. It’s well over a pound of greens each week – pretty amazing. What I have been doing it chopping and washing them then mixing them all together for a hearty salad mix. Of course, you have to remove the hard ribs from greens like chard, kale and collards, but once you do that, they make excellent salad greens. Also – the pic below is of our CSA box’s contents from our May 4th pick up. So pretty! And so tasty!

Bounty of Veggies From Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

What I like best about this greens mix is that it makes a wonderfully satisfying salad. The greens have lots of nutrients and fiber as well so they are quite filling. Below in the recipe section I’ve included the proportions for the greens mix I made this week, but you can really just customize it however you’d like. There are no rules! Well, only one – that you use high quality, hearty greens! Otherwise, pick whichever ones you like best. Love kale? Add more! Dislike collards? Keep them out! All up to you. You just need to create a salad mix that you will eat and enjoy. That’s really all that counts here.

Hearty Salad Mix From Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, LA

Finally, let me note that this recipe might seem long, but it’s really not. I had to give you instructions for several pieces here, but all in all, it’s pretty easy to execute. And if you prepare greens on the scale I layout below, you can get at least four dinner-sized salads out of it. The best way to properly store all these chopped greens so that they’ll stay fresh and crisp is to first wash them and use a salad spinner to remove all excess moisture. Moisture is the enemy of produce. Once greens are sufficiently dried, place them in a large air tight container lined with paper towels. This will help to absorb any additional moisture that may still be lingering. Once you do that, you’ll be able to successfully store the greens for up to a week.

Hearty Roasted Beet Salad Recipe

What about you? Are you a big salad lover? What are your favorite ingredient combinations? Let me know in the comments section below. I’m interested in hearing about how you do salad!

Yield: 2 dinner salads

Hearty Roasted Beet Salad Recipe

This hearty roasted beet salad recipe features lovely Chioggia beets, creamy avocado, tangy feta cheese, and crisp cucumbers. Topped with white balsamic vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

Hearty Roasted Beet Salad:

  • 2 large Chioggia beets (sub red beets, if needed), greens and stems removed
  • 6 ounces (about 6 cups) lettuce and greens salad mix - recipe below
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber (peeled and deseeded beforehand)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • White balsamic vinaigrette, to taste - recipe below

Lettuce and Greens Salad Mix:

  • 1 bunch chopped Kale, thick ribs removed (about 6 ounces or 6 cups)
  • 1 bunch chopped Swiss chard, thick ribs removed (about 6 ounces or 5 cups)
  • 1 bunch chopped beet greens, thick ribs removed (about 5 ounces or 4 cups)
  • 3 ounces spring salad mix (about 4 cups)

White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup neutral oil such as safflower, olive or grape seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method:

Roasting the Beets:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
  2. Place beets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for one hour and allow to cool before trying to peel. (Move on to prepping the rest of the salad while the beets roast).
  3. Once cooled, peel the beets carefully with a paring knife. Slice into 1/4” thick rounds.

Lettuce and Greens Salad Mix:

  1. While the beets are baking, prepare the greens by washing, chopping and mixing the varieties.
  2. You can use any combination of hearty greens that you’d like. Also, you don’t have to make the whole big batch of greens. Make as much as you think you’ll need.
  3. Yield on this mix: 1 pound, 4 ounces or about 19 cups of salad mix

White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  1. Add all ingredients to a squeeze bottle or mason jar. Shake to combine.
  2. Set aside until ready to use but be sure to shake again before using to emulsify.
  3. Yield: 1/2 cup of dressing

Assembling the Salad:

  1. Lay down a bed of greens on each plate.
  2. Divide the cucumber, avocado, feta, and green onions, and scatter them over both salads.
  3. Top each salad with the slices from each of the two beets.
  4. Finish the salads with the desired amount of dressing.

Prep:30 min

Cook:1 hour

Total:1 hour 30 min

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Disclaimer: This post was written out of my own interest in showcasing Grow Dat Youth Farm and to thank Stonyfield for their generous prize. I was not asked to do anything by Stonyfield in exchange for the prize other than enter the initial contest. All content written here contains my own sincere and honest thoughts, opinions, and feelings. This post also contains an affiliate link.

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