This greens, orange, and beet salad delivers color and flavor.
Choose fresh seasonal greens—a mix of tender lettuces like Boston, oak leaf, red leaf, and butter or spinach—and match them with the sweet, earthy flavor of cooked beets and the refreshing sweet and sour balance of oranges. To these add the peppery snap of sliced radishes and the zing of a couple or raw onion slices.
Greens, Orange, and Beet Salad
Yield 6 servings
- 12 small or medium beets
- 5 Moro blood oranges or 2 or 3 navel oranges, depending on size
- ¾ pound lettuce of your choice—butter lettuce, red leaf, or a combination of baby lettuces with cresses, radicchio, mizuno—or add spinach or arugula; be sure to wash and dry the greens completely with a dish towel
- 3, 4, or 5 radishes depending on size to add a peppery flavor to taste
- Raw onion slices to taste
Preparing Beets. Cooking beets brings out their sweetness. Beets can be boiled half covered or just covered in salted water. Boil beets with their skin on—the skin will hold the juices in during cooking. Scrub the beets in advance of cooking with the root and stem attached. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer until the beets can be just pierced with a fork, ½ to 2 hours depending on the size of the beets. Drain and cool; the skin will slip right off when you give each beet a little squeeze at the stem end. Slice each beet in eights to retain the roundness of the whole beet.
Preparing Oranges. Peel each orange so that the outside of the orange has no pith or white; cut off the top and bottom of the orange with a serrated knife so that a circle of orange flesh is exposed. Set the flat side down then cut away a section of peel in a circular motion following the outline of the orange, removing the skin and white pith. Cut away remaining sections of peel following the line where the orange meets the white. Turn the orange over and trim off any remaining peel or pith you may have missed. Slice the orange crosswise into rounds.
Mixing Greens, Beets, and Oranges. To maintain the crisp freshness of the greens, do not combine them with the beets and oranges until the last minute.
Dressing. There are many dressing options for this salad:
- Just salt
- Oil and vinegar, start with a tablespoon or two, toss well—there should not be a puddle of dressing at the bottom of the bowl
- Vinaigrette: mix orange zest, 3 tablespoons of orange juice, 1 teaspoon of vinegar—let sit ½ hour then whisk in ¼ cup olive oil—adjust flavor to taste adding salt or a bit more orange juice.
- A touch of sugar
- A couple of spoonfuls of maple syrup; add room-temperature maple syrup to the beets and oranges to lightly coat before mixing with greens.
Other seasonal flavor additions: grapefruit slices, tangerine sections, apple slices, banana slices, strawberries, blueberries, raisins or dates, alfalfa sprouts.