Salads and summertime — I love both! Many different types of lettuce and spinach grow well in our area, and there is nothing better than fresh-out-of-the-garden vegetables.
One of my favorite salads combines several of my most prolific garden veggies. My glazed beets, spinach and blue cheese salad is such a wonderful warm-weather treat. It is great as a side dish and can easily be a main dish salad that is perfect for a lighter meal. It is easy to prepare and has a fresh and unique mixture of flavors.
If you haven’t used fresh beets, this will be a new experience and you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of soap and water for your hands afterward — or you’ll look like you’ve tie dyed all day! However, that vibrant red color is what makes beets so healthy and full of nutrients. In fact, this salad has many healthy qualities, and is still one of the most delectable salads I make.
Belle’s Glazed Beet, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium beets, roughly chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Add the beets and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Pour in the orange juice, vinegar and maple syrup, salt and pepper, and stir to coat the beets. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to simmer, and let the beets cook gently, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has reduced and the beets are tender. You will need some of the liquid to pour over the rest of the salad.
Place the spinach in a large serving bowl, and drizzle the beets and pan liquid over the greens. Top with crumbled blue cheese. Toss to coat. Serve at room temperature.
Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at talesofthedinnerbelle.com.