Beets have a naturally nutty flavor and, when roasted, a wonderfully sweet taste. They are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, copper, manganese, Folate and fiber.
Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet. Like beets, it is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese, Folate, and fiber. In addition, it brings iron and vitamin B3 to the plate (so to speak).
Asparagus has a wonderfully different texture when “shaved” raw and added to salads. Like beets and fennel above, it is full of nutrition including vitamin K, selenium, Folate, copper, vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B3 and B6. It is also a good source of fiber, zinc, iron and phosphorus.
Suffice it to say that this earthy salad packs a large nutritional wallop. I like to serve it alongside a nice vegetarian entrée for dinner or, when served with fresh French bread, as a nice light lunch all by itself.
1 bunch red beets
1 bunch gold beets
2 large fennel bulbs
4 asparagus stalks (the larger around the better)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces arugula
4 ounces aged goat cheese (crumbled)
1 cup walnut pieces (roasted)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Thoroughly wash and then peel the beets. Slice them ¼-inch thick. Place beets in a large baggie with the olive oil and shake to coat beet slices evenly. Pour beets onto two large baking sheets and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove beets from oven and turn each on over. Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Make sure they are room temperature (if not chilled) before plating.
Trim a ½ slice from the bottom of each fennel bulb and remove large tough sections of bulb. Thinly slice the remaining fennel and remove the “core” from each slice. Set aside.
Trim the “woody” 2-3 inches off the end of each asparagus stalk. Use a potato peeler to shave thin ribbons of asparagus. Set aside.
Mix red wine vinegar and olive oil together. Set this dressing aside.
When ready to serve, place a handful of arugula on 4 separate chilled salad plates. Place beets, then fennel slices, and lastly asparagus shavings on arugula. Sprinkle goat cheese and toasted walnuts on top and drizzle with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve while plates are still cold.