I recently discovered beets. Yes, you read that correctly: BEETS. I guess they haven’t technically been hiding from me my whole life, but I just have never noticed them before. I’ve had several opportunities recently, though, to try them out, and each time, I LOVED them! This past Friday I was out for a girls’ dinner, and we decided to try the restaurant’s beet and goat cheese ravioli. Yum! So, I was inspired to somehow incorporate beets into my Meatless Monday meal this week. I searched Pinterest and found some delicious looking recipes, but I needed something that didn’t involve too much prep because, well, Mondays. Enough said, right?! We’ve been having cold and rainy weather, so soup and salad was calling my name!
I chose this Rainbow Winter Salad from Pinch of Yum. It called for another new-to-me ingredient: pomegranate. I was recently at a friend’s house for dinner, and she mentioned how much she loved pomegranates in the winter. I do love pomegranate juice, but I have never attempted to buy a whole pomegranate. It always seemed like so much work. She assured me it wasn’t, so I picked one up at the store. I’ll confess that a whole week had gone by without me looking at it again. When I saw this salad recipe, though, it was just the nudge I needed. Let’s make it an adventure!
To go with this salad, I thought a butternut squash soup would be good. Let’s just round out the rainbow while we’re at it! I had made a recipe previously intending to share it for Meatless Monday, but it just fell short. I mistakenly only had beef stock in the house, rather than the veggie stock the recipe called for. I attributed the miss to that substitution. So, I decided to give the recipe another go. Well, turns out, the stock was not the reason, or rather, it’s actually the entire reason. I just felt like there wasn’t enough butternut squash flavor in the dish. I don’t think I’ll be making that one again.
Nick and I usually agree on most tastes and flavors (except for cucumbers and asparagus – for me; and sriracha on EVERYTHING – for him), but tonight we were total opposites. I was happy how my roasted beets turned out, but he saved all of his for the munchkin. (Don’t all toddlers love beets? 😉 ) He thought the soup was delicious, and I told him to not get too attached. Oh well! You win, you lose some. While I enjoyed the salad, I don’t think it will be going on my normal rotation.
So, tonight, instead of sharing actual recipes with you, let me share with you some kitchen tips I learned in my experiment with new ingredients.
I mentioned in my pizza post that I’ve been trying to make more items at home instead of buying them already prepared. Tonight’s salad recipe called for either pickled beets or freshly roasted beets. Now, there are two really good reasons to cook at home: 1) it’s cheaper and 2) I know all of my ingredients. I decided I didn’t want to have to sift through jars or cans of beets looking at ingredient lists. I looked at one of my favorite kitchen tips website The Kitchn and found instructions for roasted beets. Easy enough. Now, I’ll share with you!
You will need:
1 bunch of beets
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut greens off beets, leaving about an inch of the stems at the top. Wash beets and wrap individually in foil. Roast in the oven for about an hour, until soft. Once cool enough to handle, wrap in a paper towel, and peel off the skin.
Watch out for beet-stained fingers 😛
So, if you’re not familiar with pomegranates or only with pomegranate juice that comes in a bottle at the store, you may not realize that pomegranates are mainly just seeds. Tiny little seeds. To enjoy the pomegranate, you must first release all of those seeds from its skin. The method I used tonight was super easy, and as an extra bonus, it’s a great way to release any pent up frustration. 😉
You will need:
Rubber Spatula (or similar)
Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally so that you have a top and a bottom. Hold one half over the bowl, cut side down. Then, muster up all that frustration and smack the top of it with the rubber spatula. The seeds should start falling into the bowl. Continue until all seeds have been loosened, and then, repeat with the other half.
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