Autumn Salads – Salubrious Crunch Teamed with Irresistible Flavors

Beets. Oranges. Apples. A few toasted walnuts. Some creamy blue cheese-blessed dressing.

Quick! Hand me a knife and fork.

The flavor combinations in this salad are irresistible. You can add some grilled chicken if you like.

And there are a couple of shortcuts that make it quick to prepare.

One: Buy steamed, ready-to-eat beets. They are sold in the refrigerated deli at Gelson’s, Bristol Farms, Trader Joe’s and Mother’s Markets. (The packaging looks a little different at Trader Joe’s, but it has the same luscious beets inside.)

Two: Make the dressing ahead of time and store it up to three days in the fridge.

Here’s the recipe … it’s from my second book, “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce:”

Hearts of Romaine Salad with Beets, Apples and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
Yield: 6 servings
Dressing:
2 tablespoons freshly-squeeze lemon juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Salad:
1 cup walnuts
3 hearts of romaine, each quartered lengthwise
4 medium beets, roasted or steamed, peeled, sliced or diced
1 crisp apple, unpeeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
Optional for thinning dressing: 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Place lemon juice, yogurt, olive oil, salt and pepper in blender. Whirl until smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in blue cheese.
2. Place walnuts on rimmed baking sheet in single layer. Toast until lightly browned in a 350-degree oven, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully because nuts burn easily. Set aside to cool.
3. On each plate, place 2 romaine quarters. Arrange beet slices and apple wedges next to romaine. Spoon dressing across plate from side to side, spilling dressing across middle of romaine and a portion of the beets and apples. If dressing is too thick, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk. Scatter walnuts on top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Nutritional information (per serving): Calories 320; fat calories 230, total fat 25 grams; sat fat 7 grams, cholesterol 20 milligrams; sodium 460 milligrams; total carbohydrates 14 grams; fiber 4 grams; sugars 9 grams; protein 14 grams; vitamin A IUs 30%; vitamin C 30%; calcium 25%; iron 10%.

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