This salad lured me in visually. I have recently joined the ranks of pinterest users. I know that I am late to the party. No one will ever accuse me of being an early adopter of technology or social media. Anyway, I have been making up for lost time and thoroughly enjoying all the pretty, pretty pictures of frocks and puppets and food…including one stunning photo of this pretty salad from The Farmhouse Delivery Blog.
Once I got past the sheer beauty of this salad, I realized that it also sounded delicious, healthful and hearty enough to pack for work lunch. I take my packed lunches very seriously. Please click here for my many thoughts on this topic. Every bite of this salad is full of sweet, salty, spicy, earthy flavour and crunch. When you read the recipe you might be daunted by the amount of salad it will make, but I found that I could eat a rather astonishing amount of the stuff and I bet that you will too! I know that most New York food lovers spend the winter pining over the lack of glamourous local vegetables, but I do not (Okay, maybe I do miss tomatoes a bit). The truth is, that I love winter vegetables! I love cabbage, beets, parsnips, brussel sprouts and kale. My body really prefers old world vegetables, and I actually get a bit stomach sick every summer when I binge on new world food like corn and tomatoes. This probably has something to do with my Baltic/ Celtic heritage. My body would probably be perfectly content if I ate nothing but cabbages and beets. I know, I’m a cheap date.
I made some changes to this recipe. I put shallots in the dressing instead of raw onion in the salad. I added honey to the dressing because I am a candy mouth. I did not have the pure ancho chili powder that they original recipe called for, so I used a mix of cayenne, cumin and sumac which is awesome if I do say so myself. I also added lots, and lots of cilantro.
RUBY SALAD WITH FETA AND SPICY PEPITAS
For the Beets
- 1 bunch beets, trimmed and scrubbed
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Spicy Pepitas
- 1 c (6 oz) pepitas (Pepitas are pumpkin seeds and if you don’t have them, sunflower seeds will work well instead)
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sumac
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
For the Vinaigrette
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon runny honey
- 1 Tablespoon minced shallots
For the Salad
- 4 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
- 4 cups thinly sliced raddichio (you could replace this with more cabbage, but I like the bit of bitter from the raddichio)
- 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the beets in the thyme, salt, and olive oil in the center of the foil. Fold the beets up in the foil sealing the edges tightly. Roast the packet of beets on the baking sheet for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until they are tender. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees. Make the pepitas while you let the beets cool inside their foil packets.
Toss the pepitas with the oil, spices and salt. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees until golden and fragrant. This should take 6-8 minutes. If hear them popping they are done (mine didn’t pop). Cool completely on the baking sheet. You can make these in advance and store them in an airtight container.
When the beets are completely cool, slip them out of their skins and slice them into thin wedges. You can do this in advance and store the roasted beets in the fridge.
In a jar, combine the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, runny honey, minced shallots and oil. Seal the jar and give it a generous shake. Season with a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If it is too salty you can add a bit more lemon, oil and honey. You can make this in advance and store in the fridge.
You can also toss the roasted beets, cabbage and raddichio with the vinaigrette in advance. I was taking this salad to work for lunch and I found that kept well in the fridge over the week. Just before serving, toss the salad with the crumbled feta, spicy pepitas and chopped fresh cilantro.
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