I love having a bunch of random ingredients that I need to use…
Healthy Eating 2019: Beet Salad with Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Alright MyStyle Foods. This post is for you, little blog I love. Between graduating college, spending a year trying to get a job in California, finally landing that job and moving across the country, I have neglected you. I’ve been a tad unsure, often confused, and overall overwhelmed.
Even if no one reads this post, I need it in writing to hold myself accountable. This new year is the year for healthy eating. This new year is the year for consistently posting. 2019 is your year, MyStyle Foods. I have a few plans and business ideas that could be life-changing and I’ll always regret it if I don’t at least try. There’s some saying about shooting for the moon and landing among stars, right? Well, let’s try.
I have at least eight drafts of posts, if not more. Bloggers make it look so easy, but consistently pushing content is anything but. I applaud those who do it daily! May the content gods continue to bless you with such a consistent schedule. So, I’m working on getting all my drafts in order and publishing those recipes. I’m going to work on being a little clearer with my measuring; the first thing I do when looking at a recipe is scroll through the ingredients. After that, I might read the directions, but I mainly enjoy reading about what flavors work together. I want MyStyle to stand out because I want quick recipes that taste like you spent all night on them. However, I think I need a tad bit more organization/mainstream style to reach the audience levels I’d like.
And…yes, I’m going to work on healthy eating. It’s time I feel good about myself (plus, looking decent for my sister’s wedding is a must!). I’ll be ready and waiting for any healthy dishes — share them using #MyStyleFoods!
Okay, now that I’ve declared my productive intentions, on to this beet salad with pickled cucumbers and mixed greens. I am embarrassingly proud of this recipe. And mildly obsessed. It’s the most advanced salad I’ve ever created. The morning I made this I declared we were changing our eating habits and I’d be heading to the store for fresh produce. For some bizarre reason, as I stared at the endless rows of produce at my local grocery store, I had an intense craving for radishes and beets.
I’ve never craved those before in my life. Honestly, I barely eat those two ingredients. Now, I looked this up and it says I could have an iron deficiency…alright, adding iron-rich foods to the list of healthy eating.
Anyway, I followed my bizarre craving and grabbed beets, radishes, and even a turnip. Woo hoo! I’ve told myself that I’m going to start buying at least one vegetable or fruit that I’ve never cooked with or tried before. I hate getting stuck in a rut of buying the same things over and over and over again. Green peppers, onions, cucumber, zucchini…I love you all, but it’s time for some new faces in my produce drawers.
What you’ll need
Do the onions too if you’d like
Splash Malt vinegar
Any seasonings – I added a pinch of salt and pepper
Alrighty, let’s start with the cucumbers since those are the easiest element. I wanted a little bit of tangy flavors in my salad, so I decided to “quick pickle” these the same way I’ve seen people on Chopped pickle something. Once I looked it up later, some publications suggest boiling the pickling liquid then putting them in; I wasn’t going for the most proper technique, so I just did it. Fill a small bowl with enough vinegar to cover the cucumber slices. I decided to add splashes of malt vinegar, then add salt, pepper, and a little bit of sugar. At the last minute I added a few of my onion slices too. Let these marinate as you get the other components ready.
Body of the salad
2 beets – save the greens!
2-3 cloves garlic – or already minced garlic
1/2 an onion – sliced. Do one full one if you’d like
2 cloves garlic
Start heating a medium saucepan and drizzle with olive oil. Peel and dice the beets, as well as their greens. The stems add a great crunch factor and are just as flavorful. Chop a portion of your kale – depending on what type. I had Tuscan kale on-hand thanks to Imperfect Produce, so I used some as the base of my salad and some in my warm component.
Slice your onion, and add to the pan. Slice one to two garlic cloves if you’d like and include them in this mix. Once the onions are translucent, add the beets. When they are done to your liking (soft or still with some crunch, your style!), turn the heat up so it’s nice and hot then squirt lemon juice and balsamic vinegar to the mix. Let this simmer/reduce and add the chopped kale just until it wilts. Randomly, I added mustard seeds on top. Season with salt and pepper then take out of the pan, or take the pan off the heat, and let it cool before adding to the salad.
This sautéed part is completely your decision to make. I wanted it to be warm, so I decided to take half of each of my ingredients and cook them, then I left the other half of each raw. Grab a bowl that you’ll use to mix everything and add the spinach/kale or greens of your choosing, add sliced radishes, sliced raw onions, chopped Kalamata olives, and cilantro. Don’t add the sautéed component until it’s cooled a bit more and won’t completely wilt the salad.
1-2 Tbs mayonnaise
2 Tbs Tahini
2 Tbs water
1 garlic clove – optional
~1/4 cup olive oil
Squirt of mustard – yellow or Dijon, whichever you prefer
As far as the dressing, all I knew was that I wanted it to be loosely based on Caesar dressing. By the way, I’m on the hunt to find the perfect Caesar dressing, so share your recipes! I started with a spoonful of mayonnaise and a squirt of yellow mustard. I started mixing these, then randomly had the idea to add tahini. Previously, I purchased a big bottle of it and it’s just been burning a hole in my cabinet. Perfect time to use it! The directions say to add a spoonful of water for every spoonful of tahini, and mix. I just added about two and a half spoonfuls of tahini to the mayo and mustard, then added the water. There’s no need to mix the tahini beforehand unless you really want to.
Honestly, writing this right now I can’t remember if I minced garlic into this mix…most likely I did, since I’m a garlic fiend. So, that’s why it’s optional. If you didn’t add any to the sautéed mix, I would recommend adding it here.
Season with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like. Finally, as you whisk the dressing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Start out just letting it drip in as you stir, then let it flow faster and keep stirring. My guess of 1/4 cup is definitely just an estimate – I went by look and consistency and added/tasted until I thought it was okay. Don’t add too much or else it will get a weird olive oil taste. Take it slow this step, because it’s easy to mess up a dressing. Squirt in lemon juice.
Bring it all together!
Toss the cooled sautéed vegetable mix with the other components you added to the bowl earlier. Grab your pickling cucumbers and drain them. Grab some paper towels and dab them off to dry – if you add them directly to the salad it’s going to be wayyyyyy too vinegary. Which, was my mistake.
I just spooned them out and dumped them right in and UGH I really messed that up. However, I love this salad so much (as I mentioned earlier) because despite this misstep, it still tasted really good! My best advice: just take a second to taste them before you add them to everything else. This way, you can determine if you even like the way it turned out. I got too excited; but hey, that’s the part of cooking I love. Experiment, mess-up, and take notes for next time. I really love fresh cracked pepper on top of my salad, so add that. Finally, I added croutons. I know, not the healthiest but I’m just starting.
And voilà! My first fancy salad. Stay tuned for more experiments with vegetables and fruits I’ve never tried before. Let me know what modifications you made to this recipe, and if you have a suggestion for new produce I could try, reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Cheers to 2019 and hopefully growing my following. Thank you for reading!