Redeeming salad as a part of a delicious holiday meal
Salad: The least loved side of holiday dinners. But it doesn’t have to be.
The problem with most of the salads served at holiday meals is they tend to lack inspiration and usually are made from lackluster ingredients. Fair enough. Our focus usually is on the roast and heartier sides, such as scalloped potatoes and gravies and baked this-and-thats.
But a holiday dinner salad not only can be delicious, it also can be a bright and light counterpoint to the many heavier options on the table. The trick is to draw on seasonally appropriate ingredients that also are robust enough to stand up to the rest of the meal. In this case, we went with roasted beats and lightly charred citrus segments. Combined with nicely dressed greens, it’s a delicious redemption of the salad.
ROASTED BEET AND CITRUS SALAD
(Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes, 30 minutes active; servings: 6)
4 medium beets (preferably multiple colors)
2 cups grapefruit and orange segments
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5 ounces baby kale or arugula
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/4 cup toasted flake coconut (preferably unsweetened)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wrap each beet in foil, and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a paring knife. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
While the beets cool, increase the oven to broil. Arrange the citrus segments in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Broil for 3 minutes, turning halfway through for even browning.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the greens in the dressing, and arrange on a serving platter.
Carefully peel the roasted beets, and slice into small wedges. Arrange the roasted beets and the broiled citrus wedges over the greens. Sprinkle with the pecans and toasted coconut.
Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories; 140 calories from fat (64 percent of total calories); 16 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 0 milligrams cholesterol; 130 milligrams sodium; 19 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber; 15 grams sugar; 3 grams protein.
Alison Ladman is a chef, food writer and recipe developer for The Associated Press. She also owns The Crust and Crumb Baking Co. in Concord, New Hampshire.