School was out for Spring Break and my friend and I were looking for some fun outdoor activities to do with our children. We packed them up in the car and headed to a local farm for a day of fresh air, exploration, play and discovery. There were several highlights from the day (enjoying a picnic lunch under a shady tree, feeding baby ducklings, wagon rides, watching a mama pig nursing her babes) but one of them was picking our own fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables that were later used to prepare meals throughout the week. The kids had a blast and learned some things too!
One of our favorite pickings was the Golden beet. A bit sweeter and less earthy than Red beets, Golden beets brighten up any dish and add beauty to all kinds of salads.
This humble root vegetable is heart healthy, full of antioxidants, is known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, naturally cleanses the kidneys, treats anemia and fatigue, and are excellent for the eyes and skin. Golden beets also contain good amounts of fiber, iron, potassium, and folic acid. Many orange and yellow colored fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients including vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, lycopene, flavonoids and zeaxanthin.
Be sure not to throw away the beet greens! They’re also packed with nutrients (some reports suggest they are even more nutritious than the root they support) and can be eaten like spinach or cooked. We like to drizzle ours with extra-virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake them into chips.
I previously wrote about my obsession with salads in a jar – they’re a real game changer for anyone who’s pressed for time but wants to eat well and feel good! I make a few in advance and store them in the fridge to eat throughout the week. It makes eating so much easier when I’m home with the kids and especially when on-the-go. I simply toss a jar in my bag – no more missed lunches!
This recipe works for whatever way you want to serve your salad – in a jar, on a plate or in a serving bowl.
6 cups raw baby spinach
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
5-6 cooked golden beets, chopped
1 Fuji apple, chopped½ large onion, thinly chopped
⅓ cup walnuts, toasted
⅓ cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
- Place walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until browning begins, then stirring constantly until fragrant and golden brown. Remove walnuts from skillet and spread out on a plate to cool.
- Place all dressing ingredients except olive oil into a bowl and whisk. Slowly add in the olive oil. Set aside.
- To serve the salad, either assemble in a glass jar or evenly distribute all of the ingredients over salad plates or in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with maple-cider vinaigrette, serve and enjoy!