A fast and healthy winter salad of spinach, beets, chick peas and carrots, tossed in a tart and sweet lemon-maple vinaigrette!
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fun time ringing it in! Did you go out to a party? Do tell. We stay home with the kiddos in bed, so I’m always trying to live vicariously. 😉
I’m also D.O.N.E. with the celebrations. Don’t get me wrong. It was a seriously fantastic holiday season and I enjoyed every minute, every bite, every sip. But now it’s time to catch my breath and get back to my normal, simple, healthy, real food cooking ways.
And it starts here. With this spinach and beet salad that I haven’t been able to stop eating. It’s so fast, so easy and I can’t seem to put my fork down once I get going on it.
You’ve got a base of spinach, which is our go-to green around here, and then I’ve layered on shredded carrots (I buy the pre-shredded bag - it’s just too easy) and chick peas (from the can or homemade). I’m a carrot and chick pea junkie.
And then we have the silky, tender roasted beets that look like little jewels running throughout the salad, bumping it up to something really special. Another shortcut: I often buy already roasted beets. They’re in the produce section of your grocery store and they are amazing. (Saves me a lot of time since I’m constantly making beet hummus for my little ones.)
Funny sidenote: M loves beet hummus. Seriously craves it. Has since she was a baby. (She’s now 4 ½.) But the few times I offered her roasted beets, sliced or diced up, she turned her nose up. Then a few months ago, there was a small chunk of beet left in her hummus - it had escaped the blades of the food processor.
She was delighted - it was like finding a buried treasure. And she loved it! So now I try to leave at least one chunk of beet in there for her to find. Silly girl. Silly mama.
Anyway, this is pretty much a bright and happy salad of things I love and adore and just decided to have together on a plate. Turns out they get along so well.
And then the lemon maple vinaigrette adds such a lovely tartness and sweetness and brightness that makes you want to keep going back for more. And more.
This is the kind of stuffing-my-face I’m ready for. Have this spinach and beet salad for lunch or with some broiled fish, chicken or pork for dinner. But have it and kick off 2016 the right way.
Happy New Year everyone! Enjoy!
For the salad:
- 1 (8-10 oz) bag of baby spinach leaves
- 1 (8 oz.) package of roasted beets (see notes)
- 1 (14 oz.) can chick peas, rinsed and drained**
- 1 heaping cup shredded carrots
For the lemon-maple vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl - or layer onto a large plate (as pictured above).
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small jar. Cover with the lid and shake very well to combine.
- Pour dressing over salad (start with about ⅔rds of the dressing and add more as you like) and toss gently to get the salad coated.
- Serve and enjoy!
** You may substitute 1 ½ cups homemade crockpot chick peas for the canned chick peas.
How to roast beets: If you can’t find roasted beets in your store, it’s really easy to do it yourself. (I used to all the time when I grew beets in my garden.) Preheat your oven to 400. Trim the raw beets by removing all but about an inch of the long stems. Scrub the beets and wrap each one in aluminum foil and close it up into a little packet. (You can put a couple of small beets together in one piece of foil.)
Put the foil packets on a baking sheet and roast for 50-60 minutes. It’s helpful to check them after 30 minutes in case they are getting too dry. If they are, just drizzle a little water in the foil packet and wrap them back up before returning to the oven. They’re done when a fork pierces them easily. Small beets will be finished sooner than the really large ones.
Once cooked, let them cool a bit then use a paper towel to rub the skins off. You’re ready to go! This recipe uses 4-5 small beets (or 2-3 large ones) but you can make a whole batch while you’re at it and store the extras in the fridge for up to a week for another use. They're SO good!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 231Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 232mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 6gSugar: 14gProtein: 6g