The other night, I had just had enough of stewy dishes. I make a lot of long-cooked things, and I just wanted a big pile of vegetables. I had originally planned to make a beet-blue cheese salad, my particular favorite, but I revised my plans to something that was substantial enough to eat as a dinner salad. I was very happy with the result. If I made it again I’d probably make a vinaigrette for this rather than using store-bought ranch. The cheese adds enough dairy.
The fried onions are a favorite ingredient of mine – they come in a big ol’ 1 lb. bag, and are just onions and oil, unlike the little nasty cans of them with all the junk added that you can find on grocery store shelves. Trust me – go to the Indian store and look for the red-and-yellow Hanif brand bag of fried onions, and you’ll find as many places to use them as I do. Plus, if you have a 1 lb. bag of them versus a little can, you don’t feel so bad about having a few as a nibble before they go in your dish.
2 large beets, roasted*, peeled and cut in small dice
7 round radishes, cut in small dice
6 c. arugula
1/2 c. Indian fried onions
2/3 c. grated or crumbled cheese (I used Piave, but you could use Montasio, Parrano, or a blue cheese – I like Great Hill Blue and Valdeon).
Whole Foods Ranch dressing (use a light hand with it – there’s a lot of cheese in there already)
salt and pepper
Toss it all together and season with salt and pepper. Serves 2 hungry salad-lovers or 4 as a side salad. Don’t toss leftovers – the greens will wilt, but the salad is still tasty the next day.
*To roast beets: Take 1 lb. beets, cut the tops off (use them like spinach in cooking), leaving the root on, and wash them. Prick them all over a little bit, then place them in an 8×8 glass dish, add ½ c. of water, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour. Also produces beet cooking liquid, which makes a great rouge if you look good in pink. Really!