From gardens to garden parties, the season of fresh produce is upon us at last. With the hot days of summer finally here, I like to move my weekly meal prep time to the early morning while the temperature is still cool enough to comfortably cook a few things that can be enjoyed as a chilled entrée later.
Each of the recipes I’m sharing this month have at least one item that needs to be cooked ahead of time, which is why I prefer to do it all at once in one gloriously sweaty hour on a weekend morning so that I can enjoy carefree, heat-free assembly of ingredients later in the week.
Beets are one of my favorite year-round vegetables and I especially love them in the summer months while they’re still small in size and the greens are tender. Beets are an excellent source of vitamins A, K, and potassium as well as being high in antioxidants and fiber. The greens are hearty and with the stems, have a nice combination of textures along with the beetroots themselves, all of which pair nicely with a tangy lemon dressing.
This particular recipe calls for cooked beets, but if you’d prefer to skip cooking completely, a nice variation is to instead simply peel and shred your beets with a vegetable grater; everything else in the recipe can remain the same.
Beet Salad with Beet Greens & Feta
1 bunch of beets with greens
4 oz. Feta cheese, diced small
4-5 scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced and the slices then cut into thirds.
(You can use any color bell pepper; I used half each of a red and yellow pepper)
Lemon Vinaigrette with Fresh Dill
Lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 Tb fresh dill, stems removed and then chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil
Cut the beets from the greens, trim the uneven edges and remove the tip of the root. In a pot of water covering the beets by an inch, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a high simmer, and cook the beets until tender, about 20 minutes for small beets (which is what I used) or longer for larger ones. Once you can pierce the beets with a fork but they are still nicely firm, they are done. Drain the hot water and cool the beets down with an ice water bath. Once the beets are cool enough to touch, you can press the skins right off of them. After skinning the beets, cut them in quarters lengthwise.
Wash, dry, and chop the beet greens. Toss with the beets and other salad ingredients including the vinaigrette and serve.