Baby beet salad with chevre and walnut granola (+ a giveaway!)

How to make this salad in 10 easy steps while on vacation:

Baby beet & kale salad with chevre and walnut granola! // The Pancake Princess

1) Geek out over the beauty of SAVORY GRANOLA on SALAD. When you realize that your vacation condo in Portland is equipped with 2 out of the 20 ingredients you need for this particular salad (salt and pepper), you waffle for a few days until your parents spontaneously decide to buy some olive oil and goat cheese. Four down, sixteen to go. You decide to go for it.

2) Proceed to Whole Foods.

3) Give thanks for the bulk section, where you procure oats and walnuts. Try not to get distracted by the rest of the bulk section (jade jasmine rice! Untoasted buckwheat groats! Wild rice on sale!) as you head to the spice section and add a jar caraway seeds to the cart. They’re nowhere to be found in the bulk section and you’ll definitely use those in the future. Plus they’re plane-safe.

4. In the produce section, pick out the two freshest looking heads of kale (pause to gawk at the price), a bunch of beets, and a shallot.

Baby beet & kale salad with chevre and walnut granola! // The Pancake Princess

kale

4a) Attempt to not gawk at the WALK-IN BEER CLOSET in the middle of the store. What is this, Spec’s? Ponder whether this is a feature in all Whole Foods that you’ve somehow missed. Consider whether this is why everyone’s moving to Portland.

5) Undeterred by the head-sized hunks of parmesan cheese on display, ask the cheese lady if she has any smaller chunks that might be “about ¼ cup grated.” And actually, you’re looking for pecorino, not parmesan. Thank her profusely when she cuts and wraps a tiny chunk of cheese the size of your two little fingers.

“Any tense spots, kale?” <– My sister thinks the term “massaging the kale” is hilarious.

6) Meander around the salad bar for 10 minutes before finally asking the deli guy whether they have any of those little plastic containers for salad dressing. Also if they have any of those little soy sauce packets. Follow him to the sushi section where he shows you a container full of said packets and gives you one plastic container for dressing. Once he leaves, fill up that container with as much red wine vinegar as you can.

Baby beet & kale salad with chevre and walnut granola! // The Pancake Princess

Baby beet salad with chevre and walnut granola // The Pancake Princess

Baby beet & kale salad with chevre and walnut granola! // The Pancake Princess

7) When another 10 minutes of wandering uncovers no hidden sample packets of Dijon mustard or honey, give up. Asking for another salad dressing container to sneak some of the honey-dijon dressing is out of the question.

8) When your father points out that the salad bar contains roasted beets, immediately return the bunch of fresh beets (you’re on vacation, after all), and fill up a salad container.

Baby beet salad with chevre and walnut granola // The Pancake Princess

9) Return home to find that the precious finger-sized cheese is nowhere to be found. Decide a suitable substitute for the grated cheese called for in the granola would be to mash a soft cheddar cheese you have on hand into the oil mixture. When it sort of emulsifies and works, your unfairly boosted confidence leads you to smash part of a pear with a fork and as a substitute for the egg white + honey. Once you bake the cheesy, oily, pear-infused mixture together with the dry granola ingredients, you are shocked to find that it actually tastes…delicious.

10) Massage the kale. Sprinkle cheese. Eat salad and grilled foods with your family on the rooftop of the condo while soaking in beautiful, humidity-free Portland sunshine. Give thanks for vacation and Whole Foods everywhere.

Baby beet salad with chevre and walnut granola // The Pancake Princess

Baby beet & kale salad with chevre and walnut granola! // The Pancake Princess Baby beet & kale salad with chevre and walnut granola! // The Pancake Princess

Thanks to California Walnuts and Food52 for providing inspiration for this salad! If you didn’t quick pick up on this, this salad is my contribution to a virtual salad party in conjunction with California Walnuts. As I hopefully conveyed in this post, this salad is so great that you can even cobble it together on vacation with a lot of ingredients missing and it will still taste fabulous. I can only imagine how amazing it would taste as written!

Though one of my favorite salads, I often feel that beet and goat cheese salads have been beaten to death. A savory granola seemed like a brilliant move to perk it up–and honestly, savory granola on salad is my favorite food discovery of 2014 so far.

It might seem time-consuming to make a batch of granola on top of roasting beets, massaging kale, making dressing, etc. etc. but it is SO WORTH IT. Each salty, golden cluster of granola positively burst with flavor–it’s SO umami. Plus, as a texture medium, granola disperses crunch far more evenly than croutons. I loved the earthy notes of the caraway seeds in the granola so make sure you don’t leave them out!

Baby beet salad with chevre and walnut granola // The Pancake Princess

Each of the components (beets, granola, dressing) can keep for many days in advance, so I would recommend doing all the roasting/baking on one day. If you’re not serving a large crowd all at once, I would toss each serving of salad separately to keep the granola from getting soggy. (The recipe below makes an ENORMOUS salad with a pretty large batch of granola that will last you for multiple meals as a salad accent.)

GIVEAWAY!

Finally! A present for making your way through this very long post!

I’m giving away a copy of Aida Mollenkamp’s latest cookbook, Keys to the Kitchen, courtesy of California Walnuts! I’m so excited to add this vibrant, well-illustrated cookbook to my collection not only because Aida’s recipes all look so inventive and delicious but because it’s literally packed with knowledge on how to become, as the tagline goes, a more accomplished and adventurous cook. It seems like it could be anyone’s go-to cookbook, whatever your cooking experience level may be.

To enter the giveaway for Keys to the Kitchen, leave a comment on this post about anything you like! If you’d like to earn additional entries, feel free to follow me on:

Just leave me a comment telling me what mediums you’ve chosen to follow and I’ll give you an additional entry for each medium. If you’re already following me, let me know and you’ll still earn the additional entries! This giveaway will end on Friday, June 20.

Congratulations to Lynn!

Baby beet salad with chevre and walnut granola

Yield: One enormous salad. About 10-12 servings as a side; maybe 6 meal-sized servings.

A revamped beet and goat cheese salad with kale, a simple, zingy dressing, and the star: a savory granola to provide crunch and subtle cheesiness. Hearty, flavorful, and one of the best salads I've made this year. Toss each serving separately to keep the granola from getting soggy.

Ingredients

  • For the granola:
  • 1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup soft white cheddar cheese with caramelized onion (or any soft cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons mashed pear

  • For the beets:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pound beets, peeled and cut into sixths
  • salt + pepper

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper

  • To assemble:
  • 2 heads lacinto kale, rinsed and chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre), crumbled

Instructions

For the granola:

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Combine oats, walnuts, caraway seeds, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

Combine the oil and soy sauce in a small bowl. Mash the cheese into the oil mixture using a fork or your fingers until a rough, oily paste forms--you are trying to emulsify the cheese and liquid together here. Stir in the mashed pear. Pour the wet mixture over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown throughout, stirring every 10 minutes, about 25 to 30 minutes total (the granola will continue to crisp as it cools). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the granola cool completely. (Granola can be made up to 5 days in advance; store in an airtight container at room temperature.)


For the salad:

Heat the oven to 400°F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.

Spread the beets on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper. Roast the beets for 20 minutes then remove from oven and flip onto other side. Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re knife tender and golden brown. (Beets can be roasted up to 5 days in advance; store refrigerated in an airtight container.)


For the vinaigrette:

Place all ingredients in a jar, season with salt and pepper, close, and shake until all ingredients are incorporated and come together as a vinaigrette, about 30 seconds. Just before serving, taste, adjust seasoning as desired. (Vinaigrette can be made up to 5 days in advance; store refrigerated in an airtight container.)


To serve, massage the kale by scrunching it in your fists until it softens (it should turn a darker shade of green and become aromatic). Divide the kale among serving plates, top with roasted beets, chevre, granola, and drizzle each salad with a few spoonfuls of vinaigrette.

Notes

Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp.

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2014/06/09/baby-beet-salad-with-chevre-and-walnut-granola-a-giveaway/

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57 thoughts on “Baby beet salad with chevre and walnut granola (+ a giveaway!)

  1. The Wimpy Vegetarian

    We go to Portland fairly regularly since our step-daughter, husband and 2 kids live up there. GREAT city. But your salad is to. die. for. OMG. I can’t wait to make a savory granola on a beet salad now. This is pure genius. And I’m so impressed on the quality of your photos while traveling!!!!!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks Susan!! Apparently there’s a savory granola up on Food52 as well, so maybe Aida didn’t invent this savory granola thing like I thought she did. Anyhoo, granola + beets is a fab combination :)

      Reply
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  4. JULIE DURANT

    This is the first time I have seen your blog, and I love it. I’m a Portlander, and I enjoyed seeing Portland through your eyes. The salad sounds fantastic! Thank you.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh, thank you so much Julie!! I am so in love with Portland–what a fabulous city! You’re lucky to live there–all the farmer’s markets was definitely one of my favorite parts. Thanks for visiting :))

      Reply
  5. cynthia

    I love EVERYTHING about this post, Erika! So hilarious (I felt like I was right there in the Whole Foods trenches with you baha) and the result is so absolutely spectacular. Love all the MacGyver-ing that went into producing a salad that sounds beyond delicious (omg, SAVORY. GRANOLA.) I need to try this sometime soon. Hope you had a fantastic vacation, lady!!!

    Reply
  6. laurasmess

    Why have I never thought of savory granola??!!! That is GENIUS Erika! Yay, I’m going to… uh… rush to the shops and (in a suitably undistracted fashion) pick up the ingredients for this tonight!! Massage time awaits (and yes, Aaron thinks it’s a hilarious term too) xx

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      LOL! Thanks Laura! My sister literally could not stop cracking jokes as she massaged the kale. And my mom kept wandering over and being like “really? This is a thing?” Oh the things we do :)

      Reply
  7. Nora (A Clean Bake)

    This salad is seriously stunning. I hope it was worth all the work (it seems like it was). Cooking on vacation is the worst, isn’t it? But I am really impressed by how well you ate on the road (you know I food-stalk you on IG). Ok but seriously, this salad has so many of my favorite ingredients and the savory granola is an amazing idea!!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      HAHA! Nora, would I eat any other way (other than well, on vacation)? I am nutz about food. To the point where I think maybe I should get some other hobbies that don’t involve sitting on my behind. But anyway, thanks for the lovely thoughts as usual. I hope you get an opportunity to try out savory granola sometime soon because it is GREAT!!

      Reply
  8. Shikha @ Shikha la mode

    I need to see some Portland blogposts and photos so I know what to do when I go on Thursday! I saw this savory granola recipe on Food52 and was blown away. Adding it to my to-do list, especially cus I need to make more salads and eat less sugar hah!

    Reply
  9. Natasha @ The Cake Merchant

    Whoa, this savory granola just blew my mind, but I really want to try it! I firmly believe that a good salad is worth the effort, but you are so dedicated to have put this together on vacation. Looks like you had a great, food filled trip, though.
    Even though I was only in Portland for 5 seconds, I totally see why people want to move there. I stopped at a Whole Foods for dinner and had vegan banh mi and a mini raw vegan pie! Where else could that happen? Thanks for the ice cream recommendation, by the way!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Hah, thanks Natasha! It was fun to throw together (and to see my baby brother finally eat some kale!) and definitely worth the effort, imo :)

      YES right??? I was there for 5 days and was ready to move. OMGOSH their Whole Foods is so amazing!! I remember feeling the same way when I visited the Whole Foods in Austin and I got a tofu peanut butter parfait (OMG). But Portland is somehow even cooler!! And I’m SO glad you made it to Salt & Straw!!!

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Haha yeah it was a pretty relaxed vacation with lots of cooking anyway, and I juuust happened to bring my camera on the off chance this would happen ;) Hope you are having TONS of fun on your travels!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
  10. dina

    nice kale salad! i like eating walnuts plain, they are much softer than other nuts. this was a good way to incorporate them into a dish. they are so good for you!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Agreed! They’re so buttery and delicious aren’t they? Sometimes I toast them in a pan with a little olive oil and salt and oh man I could just eat them for days. Thanks for the comment Dina! :)

      Reply
  11. Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    That’s what I call commitment! And the salad looks amazing. I love the idea of savoury granola, something I’ll definitely have to experiment with in my kitchen. We eat a lot of salads for dinners, and often toss in nuts or something else for crunch, so the granola seems so logical! I’m pretty sure I’m out of range for your giveaway, but if not, count me in! And I follow you on all media, so count me in for 5 entries ;)

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yes!!! I feel like you would love savory granola, especially since you are such a salad person! And I’m not sure if you’re quite out of range for the giveaway, but I will do my best to get this to you if you win!! :)

      Reply
  12. The Vegan 8

    Wow, that was a lot you went through for that salad, haha! I am always so mad when I get home and realize one of my purchases never made it through, argghhh! Anyways, the salad looks divine!! I love kale and the sound of that vinaigrette sounds so delicious, but I especially am dying over savory granola!! I have NEVER heard of that or had it and now I am so intrigued!! By the way, I have a new email marketing system that goes out to my subscribers, so you probably aren’t getting my emails anymore (bloggers didn’t get transferred over with the move) and if you are still interested in them, pretty please resubscribe to my blog, it’s a big red box now on my home page. :) :)

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Haha yes–I didn’t mean to sound like I was complaining! It was more like a fun scavenger hunt :) (except for the part with the missing cheese, boo!)

      And thanks for letting me know about the marketing system! No wonder I’ve been missing your blog lately! I’ve been traveling a bunch and am really behind on reading blogs, but so happy to be able to catch up on yours now! :)

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Lol thank heavens for Whole Foods indeed! I felt a bit hobo-ish while I was scrounging around for ingredients, but it was kind of fun…

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks so much Aida! I was so excited to finally try one of your recipes and of course, it turned out fabulously. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes and I’m thrilled to be able to give away a copy of your beautiful book!!

      Reply
  13. Pang

    I am amazed by your “hunt,” and that you did your post on vacation!!!!! Seriously Erika, I am loving this :)
    I have NEVER eaten heathy on vacation, but you do inspired me :)
    Glad to hear you have had a wonderful vacation.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Haha Pang you are always so wonderful!! Believe me, I had more than my fair share of doughnuts/sweets/fried food on this trip, so a salad was kind of necessary! :)

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks so much Christy!! <3 Oh, that’s so exciting that a Whole Foods is opening near you! And yes, this virtual salad party is so awesome!!

      Reply
  14. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Lol, yikes, what an ordeal! You’re a true trooper for going through with making this salad while on vacay and for hunting all the ingredients down (yes, my eyes would bug out of my head looking at some of the prices too!). This salad is lovely and I’m in LOVE with the idea of savoury granola. It now counts as one of my favourite food discoveries for 2014 too! Your photos are fabulous – I love all the action shots. We’re on the same wavelength girl – I’ve been experimenting with my photos too and just took a few this weekend where my hands/arms are sharing the spotlight with the food. The lighting is gorgeous. If I’m eligible for the cookbook, I’d love to throw my hat into the ring. I’m pretty sure I already follow you on all your social media outlets (cause I’m stalker-y like that).

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Haha oh Nancy–you’re a true trooper for making it all the way through the post! I’m pretty sure you are 1 of maybe 3 people who will read at least 60% of this post…and I love you for it! Oh man you MUST TRY granola on salad soon!!! It’s so good. And I can’t wait to see your fabulous photos!!

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yay!! I have a feeling it’d be the perfect summer cookbook :) I hope you get to read it soon (whether through this giveaway or otherwise)!!

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yes yes!!! I’m sure I pulled you out of a hectic work day but thanks so much for taking the time to come meet me!! I LOVED Nuvrei…still dreaming about that chocolate almond croissant. OMG.

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yes!!! That was SO funny reading about your dilemma about whether to go to the Portland Whole Foods because that is literally where I shopped for my ingredients!!! I was only there for five days on vacation, but it was SO wonderful. Such a wonderfully quirky city–so jealous that you live there!! The food was so fantastic! And thanks! :)

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Bahaha thanks Kim. Oh you and your clean eating ways…I saw what another heaven looks like in Portland and it’s big and fluffy and deep-fried with a purple bourbon-blueberry-basil glaze. YEAH. Yikes my arteries. (PS. if your future travels take you to Portland, go to Blue Star Doughnuts and tell me what you think! I don’t think it quite stands up to Gourdough’s, but still quite good.)

      Reply

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