I have a bottle of sherry vinegar in the cabinet from when I made a seared tilapia with tomato vinaigrette recently, and so decided to make a sherry vinaigrette to go with my beet salad last night. This dressing turned out really great, and went very well with the beets and pecans. Homemade salad dressings are so easy to make, and I think they tend to taste a lot better than anything I can find in the store - you can't beat the flavor of freshly made dressing! Making fresh dressing does require planning ahead because to get a good flavor, you have to let it sit and marinate for at least 4-6 hours. But combining the ingredients just takes a few minutes! I made this dressing and roasted the beets yesterday morning and just stored them in the refrigerator until dinner time when I assembled the salads - pretty easy!
Roasted Beet & Pecan Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Makes ~ 4 servings
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
4 fresh beets
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small package organic spring mix lettuce
~ 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. To make salad dressing, combine vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup olive oil in a salad dressing jar (or any jar with a lid). Shake vigorously to combine. Store in refrigerator for 4-6 hours to marinate before serving.
2. To roast beets, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel beets and cut stem-ends off. Cut into thin slices (about 1/8-1/4 inch thick) and place in center of large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Enclose beets in foil by making a pouch. Place in oven for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until soft.
3. To assemble salad, place 2 cups spring mix in bowl and top with beet slices and 2-3 Tbsp chopped pecans. Drizzle with sherry vinaigrette, to taste.
(Sherry vinaigrette recipe adapted from Foodnetwork.com)
What are the nutritional benefits of this salad? Beets are high in folate, fiber, vitamins A,B and C, and minerals potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. The dark green leaf lettuces in spring mix are a great source of iron and vitamins A and C. Pecans are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids and phenolic antioxidants, vitamin E, B vitamins and minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), raise good cholesterol (HDL), and aid in blood sugar control. Garlic contains flavonoids (a type of antioxidant), and is a great source of vitamins C and B6, and the mineral manganese. Oregano is packed with antioxidants so is a great addition to any salad dressing or meal!