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Have you ever had times when you're drawn to a particular vegetable or fruit. It's an odd feeling, but I occasionally get immense cravings for a particular item; like for instance last Spring, I couldn't have enough peaches. Well, for the last couple of months, I never leave a market without beets. I use them in juicing, with carrots and cucumber, or in pudding or salads. Lucky for me the cravings are fruit and vegetable related, since I'm working on losing my baby weight. I'd be in some serious trouble if they were for cake or ice cream.(sigh of relief!)
This past weekend, I roasted some red beets and used them in making this beautiful salad. While Spring is around the corner here, I know it's probably still too cold for most of you to crave salads, especially for those of you digging out from the recent blizzard in the Northeast. My immediate and extended family who live in the DC/VA/MD area are all stuck in their homes under about 26-30" of fresh powder. How wonderful is that! I wonder if you could make beet granitas with the snow?! Has anyone tried it, let know please.
Back to the salad business, roasting the beets is as hard as it gets really. I guess you could also try it by boiling the beets. I prefer roasting in general to keep all the nutrients in the food. So for roasting, I used medium sized beets, I cut them in quarters to speed up the roasting process. You could leave them whole (just add another 7-10 minutes to the oven timer). Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and a drizzle of light olive oil, cover with aluminum foil and pop in the oven at 400'F for about 25 minutes. Remove and let cool before handling. Once cooled, peel and slice in bite size pieces.
Wash and drain the watercress and set aside. Slice the apple and chop in bite size pieces. I like crunchy, crisp apples. For this salad, I used the Braeburn variety, it has a nice balance of tart and sweet and works well with the beets. Soak the pine nuts in some cold water, enough to cover them for about 30 minutes. Soaking nuts in general will rehydrate them and put a little freshness back into the flavor.
For the dressing, mince a small clove of garlic, place in a bowl. Add to it oil, sunflower butter, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Whisk to blend, add scallions and toss gently with all the other ingredients in the bowl. Sprinkle a handful of the drained and dry pine nuts for garnish and crunch. Gotta have the crunch!
Roasted Beets, Watercress and Apple Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
1 bunch watercress, washed, drained
3 red beets, roasted, peeled and sliced
1 Braeburn apple, sliced into bite size (unpeeled)
1/4 cup pine nuts
For the dressing
1/4 cup grape seed oil
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sunflower seed butter, heaping
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste