Roasted Leek and Beet Salad
Don't you just love it when your salad is better looking than you are? Yeah, me too.
But seriously, this salad is gorgeous. And its vibrant colors scream spring. And summer.
And would you look at that! We're two weeks into May. Which means it's spring now. But almost summer. So right now is the perfect window of time to be making this roasted leek and beet salad.
What a coincidence.
Well, get on it then.
So what do we have here?
We start with a base of mixed greens. Any mixture of leaf vegetables will do, really. I used a baby spring mix. Because I liked the sound of it. Baby and spring. Titles for leafy greens don't get much lovelier than that.
Next comes the roasted leeks. Yes, this is the only salad I have ever used roasted leeks in. And I cannot understand why that is. Because roasted leaks are delightful. After being drizzled with a generous amount of olive oil, the leeks take on an almost caramelized flavor as they begin to turn brown in the oven.
Like onions when they caramelize. Only leeks are way more classy. So much more posh. Leeks are chic, man.
And the beets. Let's not forget about the roasted beets. Roasted beets > cooked beets. Anytime. Anywhere.
Don't ever cook your beets again. Just cube them and roast them. In the oven. On 375. Or 400. Or whatever. With olive oil and salt. The beets get all soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. And juicy and flavorful and succulent. Fancy word for a fancy salad.
And then comes the sunflower seeds. Because it's always nice to have that extra crunch. And I find it difficult to eat salads without toppings. I just need something to break up all the lettuce and vegetables and healthiness, you know? Sometimes that's accomplished with chips, sometimes that's accomplished with crackers, sometimes that's accomplished with croutons, and sometimes that's accomplished with nuts. Here it's accomplished with sunflower seeds.
I like the roasted and salted ones. For maximum flavor. And for the contrast to the sweet dressing this salad is mixed in.
Okay, so the dressing. It's so, so simple. Three ingredients. That is all. Ready? Here's the list: olive oil (or canola/vegetable oil, if you don't have olive oil on hand), soy sauce, and sugar.
You don't even need salt, because soy sauce has got the sodium part covered. And because the beets and leeks are roasted with salt.
And you can customize the sugar amount to your personal preferences. I stuck with three tablespoons, as I don't like my dressings too sweet, but add another (or another few) if you tend to like your dressings on the sweeter side. Don't cut back on the sugar too much though, because you need that sweetness to break up the very rich olive oil and the very tangy soy sauce.
I know, such a wholesome salad. So nutrient-dense. It's almost a shame to add the sugar. But you need it, because the dressing is too pungent without any sweeteners.
This salad recipe comes from my sister-in-law, Shayna, who made it for my family when she visited from Australia a few months back. The very large salad bowl she made was finished within minutes of it being placed on the table. I personally contributed generously to the bowl being emptied. So I think it's safe to say it was very much enjoyed all around.
I got the ingredient list from my sister-in-law right away, but it was missing the amounts for each ingredient. So I had to figure that part out all by myself. So rude Shayna, so rude.
But I did it. I managed, somehow. Which basically just means I used ratios that coincided with my personal preferences. I used a lot of beets and leeks for the amount of greens involved to ensure you get a nice amount of roasted, caramelized, juicy beets and leeks in every forkful. You are very welcome.
roasted leek and beet salad
Yield: large serving bowl
8-12 oz. mixed greens (I used a spring mix)
4 large (or 6 small) beets
1 large leek
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Peel and cube the beets. Spread onto first baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Roast till softened, about 30-40 minutes.
Slice rings from the white and light green parts of the leek (discard the dark green tops). Spread rings onto second baking sheet, drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Roast till softened and just beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.
Dressing: whisk olive oil, soy sauce, and sugar together. Adjust sugar to taste - if you find dressing is too sweet, add more olive oil, and if you want it sweeter, add more sugar.
Place mixed greens into serving bowl, arrange roasted leeks and beets on top, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, and drizzle dressing over everything. Serve right away.