January 17th, 2011

Roasted Yellow Beet Salad With Warm Maple Mustard Dressing

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Serves 4
Active time: 15 minutes || Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

It’s hard to be inspired to cook in these winter months. It’s like “OK pumpkin, you’re overstaying your welcome.” And “I get it root vegetables, you’re earthy and delicious. Yawn.” Even harder is getting in your salad greens! Lettuce doesn’t exactly warm the soul after trudging through the slush in single digit temperatures. But hold off on ordering that pizza, I’ve got a remedy! Dress that salad in something warm and inviting. And to sweeten the deal, this dressing has only 2 ingredients (well, 3 if you count water, but stop nitpicking!) Obviously you can just make the salad and dressing and it will be ready in mere minutes, but if a hearty salad is your heart’s desire then the whole shebang comes together easily. The beets humbly roast away with minimum prep as the tempeh marinates. You’ll really only have 15 minutes or so of hands-on time and then earthy, tangy, smoky, sweet flavors will be all yours.

In the meanwhile, you can warm yourself with other activities – like a bubble bath or stoking the fireplace or searching the internet for deals on tropical vacations. What? That Mac balanced on your lap gives off some heat, don’t pretend you haven’t noticed.

If you don’t feel like having the Smoky Tempeh Croutons, some toasted pecans would be great in this, too!

For the beets:

4 small yellow beets, peeled

Preheat oven to 425 F. Wrap beets in tin foil and roast for an hour. Remove from oven, unwrap and slice when they stop steaming.

For the Smoky Tempeh Croutons:

8 oz tempeh, diced (1/2 inch to 3/4 inch pieces)
Olive oil or cooking spray

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Add tempeh pieces and marinade for an hour.

Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Remove tempeh from marinade and saute in a little olive oil or cooking spray. When they’re browned (about 7 minutes) splash in some extra marinade and toss to coat. Remove from heat.

For the Maple Mustard Dressing:

1/4 cup stoneground mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon water

Mix everything together in a bowl. When ready to serve, microwave for 30 seconds or gently heat in a pan over low heat.

Needed to serve:

4 oz baby arugula, or your favorite greens
Sliced red onion

To assemble:
Place the greens in a super large mixing bowl. Drizzle in the dressing and use tongs to coat. The greens will wilt slightly.

Transfer salads to 4 plates (or two, if you’re looking for entree-sized salads). Place slice beets snugly against the greens. Scatter on tempeh croutons and a few slices of sliced red onion.

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