Salad days

We interrupt this Road Trip and its gourmandises for a much-needed post about … salad.

Yes, dad this is for you.  How you can have lived with a wife and at least one daughter who would live on salad if they had the choice and still find it boring is beyond me. So I am here to prove that salads CAN be exciting. 😉

As many of you know, I am headed to IFBC this Thursday with the help of some generous sponsors who I have been featuring on my site over the summer.  Working with one of these sponsors, The Ontario Tender Fruit Producers, has allowed me to experiment with some unique salads using fruit and after such a food-filled holiday, I am very grateful.

This is an interesting salad I chose to make simply because I had all the ingredients on hand.  It’s a tasty mix of sweet from the fruit and maple syrup and spice from the chili. The only thing I would change when making it again is to leave out the red onion simply because it’s not a favourite of mine, but if you are a fan, it works with the flavours.


Bonus? It’s so pretty!

Food Network Canada’s August Cooking Club Challenge was another perfect salad for the summer, plus it gave me the opportunity to roast beets which I have never done before (I *know* the shame!!!).  I bought a variety of golden and red beets and roasted them in the oven in foil, drizzled with a little olive oil, some salt and pepper and some lemon-pepper for about 45 minutes – until I could smell that they were ready.

And yes, I had VERY red fingers when I was done skinning these.  😀


I added some poached chicken to this salad for a little extra protein and it made a great meal.  Neil found the dressing too lemoney because I, in my mad-for-lemon-zest phase I am going through added about a tablespoon of zest to the dressing and our guest and I enjoyed the tartness against the sweet beets.

Because I had gone (ahem!) a little bit overboard when buying the beets, I had plenty of leftovers, so I added them into a simple salad a couple of days later.  I combined the beets with radicchio, endives, sweet yellow grape tomatoes from our garden, some crumbled blue cheese, chopped California Walnuts (also an IFBC sponsor!) and some thinly sliced grilled steak.

This was a hearty dinner and hopefully what my dad would call an “exciting salad”.

As this was my first time working with beets, I am submitting these last two salads to this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp roundup where Jen invited us to explore vegetables.

And just to finish off, yes, those gorgeous grape tomatoes at the beginning of the post are ones that Neil and I have managed to actually grow this summer.  (See, mum, I *did* manage to inherit some of your green thumbs!)

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43 Responses to Salad days

  1. Belinda @zomppa August 24, 2010 at 07:36 #

    Your dad and I might find some things in common but you are very convincing. Those beets look great!

  2. Suzie the Foodie August 24, 2010 at 07:59 #

    You “beet” me to it! I was going to share my beet salad tomorrow, LOL. Nicely done! Your salad looks wonderful but I agree with your husband, too lemony. I really didn’t enjoy this one but it goes to show you that different styles of food work for different people. I really believe that a little honey would have gone a long way.

    Thanks for your support on the blueberry fest fiasco, it was quite heartbreaking. It summed up many of the frustrations I have had living here too. Sometimes I think life in the kitchen is much better than anywhere else.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 27, 2010 at 09:45 #

      See now I *loved* the lemon…. But you’re right, different styles for different people! And you’re welcome re the support on the blueberry fiasco!!

  3. Trix August 24, 2010 at 08:14 #

    These are so colorful! Definitely not boring, I love them. And you are so clever getting sponsors for the IFBC – wish I were going. Next year!!

  4. RavieNomNoms August 24, 2010 at 08:37 #

    mmmhhhmmm! Looks delicious! Love salads!

  5. 5 Star Foodie August 24, 2010 at 08:38 #

    Fantastic salad creations! I especially love the one with nectarines and the minted chili dressing.

  6. Jenn August 24, 2010 at 08:39 #

    Gorgeous! I am also a huge salad fan. If everyone got to eat such colorful and beautiful salads as you have here I am sure everyone would be converted to salad lovers!

  7. penny aka jeroxie August 24, 2010 at 09:15 #

    Oh yes. You just reminded me that I need more greens in my diet… summer is round the corner.

  8. Kristi Rimkus August 24, 2010 at 10:17 #

    I’m a recent convert to the benefits of beets. I’ll be trying your Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Summer Greens salad with the beets from my csa.

    Fantastic pictures!!

  9. jenjenk August 24, 2010 at 10:18 #

    NONONONONONONONONOOOOO!! you are NOT going to try to sell me on the salad! although I have to say this one does look tasty.

    *SIGH*. if only salads tasted more like…cake. then I’d be all over it. 🙂

  10. jenjenk August 24, 2010 at 10:20 #

    ok, FINE. i looked at it again. I can say that i’d love that salad with the beets. it does look pretty delicious…

  11. Dawn August 24, 2010 at 10:40 #

    These salads look fantastic! So proud of you for roasting beets!

  12. momgateway August 24, 2010 at 14:56 #

    salads make my day..yours look to so yummy…

  13. Island Vittles August 24, 2010 at 16:29 #

    Has your dad seen your pictures of these gorgeous salads? I think even he would have to admit those look good enough, or maybe even too good, to eat! Theresa

  14. Geoff August 24, 2010 at 19:33 #

    OK, OK – looking at this post I’m prepared to go so far as to say perhaps “exciting salad” is not the world’s biggest oxymoron. They do look good… but I’ll hold my final judgement.

  15. Andrea@High/Low August 24, 2010 at 19:38 #

    Mardi you’ve outdone yourself with all of these salads! They’re so beautiful and brighten up my day! (It’s been cold, rainy, and gray here!)

  16. Anna Johnston August 24, 2010 at 20:35 #

    Salads like these are my idea of a great meal, I too could live off salads…., well., mostly anyway 🙂
    Love the picture of your hearty salad in red cabbage leaves. Beautiful colours…. who wouldn’t want to eat that.

  17. torviewtoronto August 24, 2010 at 23:31 #

    very fresh looks delicious

  18. Pam M August 25, 2010 at 02:19 #

    Only last night ,I served your father a salad that I think he actually liked! I will be trying the beet salad soon. I too have not cooked my own beets, I think it’s about time. Summer on our doorstep, so salads, (exciting or not) will be on our menu. Great photos, by the way.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 27, 2010 at 09:38 #

      I am glad that you found a salad that dad didn’t think was boring! He will love the beet ones!

  19. Conor @ HoldtheBeef August 25, 2010 at 20:41 #

    Roasted beetroot and goat cheese are such a perfect couple, living together in perfect harmony as they dance there way down to my stomach, til death to they part. Ooohhh the food at the wake would be awesome.

  20. Dawn@CocinaSavant August 25, 2010 at 20:50 #

    this look incredible! i love all the colors and I can’t believe you had never roasted beets. i can barely stomach the pickled variety now! looks great!

  21. Barbara Bakes August 25, 2010 at 23:52 #

    Definitely some beautiful, non boring salads. Have fun at your conference!

  22. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction September 1, 2010 at 17:15 #

    Love the roasted beets! Lovely addition to this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp challenge 🙂

  23. cat September 6, 2010 at 22:03 #

    you might just convince me to try beets one of these days . . . that salad looked great. i gave away all of mine from our csa haul this week, but maybe next week i’ll hang onto a few . . .

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 8, 2010 at 20:52 #

      Oh Cathy – I wish I had tried this salad when you were here – even *I* am convinced that I like beets now!


  1. Kitchen Bootcamp Roundup – Vegetables | my kitchen addiction - September 2, 2010

    […] I haven’t tried roasting beets before, but the next time we get some from our CSA, I think I will have to try my hand at this Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad from eat. live. travel. write. […]

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