Local fresh produce is skyrocketing right now which is how this recipe for farmers market salad came about. Warm sunshine, fresh water and a little love is all it takes to grow a veggie or a few herbs and anyone can do it. That’s why food is tastiest in summer and if you’re not growing it, buying local couldn’t be easier. Farmers markets aren’t just roadside stands anymore. They’re everywhere from the city to the suburbs. Building a salad from the offerings at a farmers market is a great way to see what’s in season and maybe try something new. Go ahead, Mother Nature insists.
About beets: Beets come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Dark red are most common in the supermarket, but at the farmers market you’ll find pink, golden yellow and beautiful red and white striped beets called Chioggia. They all work in this recipe, so try them all!
What the heck’s a ‘juice” orange: Valencia oranges are sometimes called “juice” oranges because they typically yield the most juice of any orange variety. The thin skin makes it a great option for juicing vs. eating.
Avocado ripening secret: If your avocado is rock hard and you desperately want it ripened, here’s the secret: Place it in a paper bag with a banana and voila! The natural gas in the banana will accelerate the ripening process. This will take about eight hours or overnight, but at least you’ll be able to nudge it along.
- 1 bunch of beets (about 3 medium, each about 3-inches across)
- Juice of 1 “juice” orange (about ¼ cup)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 ripe avocado
- 6 cups salad greens, washed and dried
- 4 ounces goat cheese, diced or crumbled
- Salt and pepper
- Roast the beets: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Separate the beets from the leafy green tops (leaving an inch of stem) and rinse both thoroughly in cold water (beets grow in the ground so they are naturally dirty). Wrap beets in foil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Beet tops can be roasted too for an optional but delicious side dish. Toss beet tops in olive oil and salt, place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast alongside the foil-wrapped beets.
- While the beats are roasting, place fresh orange juice and olive oil in a bowl and whisk until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- The beets are cooked when a fork can easily pierce them. If the beets are small or large, the cooking time will need to be adjusted. Let the beets rest until they are cool enough to handle, then using your thumbs push the outer skin off. It will be easy to do and your fingers will turn a beautiful pink hue but don’t panic. It washes off easily too.
- Quarter the beets and toss with half of the orange/olive oil dressing. Set aside.
- Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit by gently striking it with the blade of a knife and twisting it out. Use a spoon to scrape the avocado out in one piece. Dice it and toss with the remaining orange/olive oil dressing (the dressing will prevent the avocado from turning brown too).
- In a large bowl suitable for serving, add salad greens followed by cheese, avocado and beets. Drizzle the remaining dressing from the avocado and beets all over the salad.