When planning my Thanksgiving menu, I like to balance out the insane over-the-top decadence (read, pounds of butter) with a little gut-friendly and refreshing light dish. I always make a big salad and find the raw crunchiness and acidic dressing really necessary for that round three of mashed potatoes. This time I’ve combined some of my favorite fall ingredients into a big hearty salad. Best of all, you can make all this ahead of time, including roasting the beets. I used feta here (my favorite go-to is French feta because it’s creamier and less pungent than Greek feta), but if you’re not scared of a little stink, you could also do a great crumbly blue cheese. The sweetness of the pear and beets really stand up well to a stronger cheese like feta or blue cheese. Top it off with my favorite flower this fall– some edible marigolds– and you have yourself a show-stopping salad for Thanksgiving!
ROASTED BEET AND PEAR SALAD
- 1/2 head of Boston lettuce (or Bibb lettuce), rinsed and roughly torn
- 1/2 head of escarole, rinsed and roughly torn
- 1/2 head of radicchio, rinsed and roughly torn
- 2 bundles of baby beets, washed and tops cut off
- 1 pear
- 1/2 a bundle of dill, roughly chopped
- 1/4 pound of feta or blue cheese
- 1/2 cup of walnuts
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
- edible marigolds for garnish
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup of grapeseed oil
- juice of 1 1/2 lemons (1 lemon if it is large)
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the beets in a roasting pan and add a big splash of water. Season the beets with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and roast for about 40 minutes until tender.
- Allow the beets to cool and slip off the skins with your fingers. Cut into wedges
- Core and thinly slice the pear.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds and walnuts in a pan until fragrant.
- Assemble the salad by layering the greens in a bowl or on a plate and top with the beets, pears, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chopped dill and feta. Garnish with with marigold leaves
- To make the dressing, combine the garlic, grapeseed oil, lemon juice, honey and big pinch of salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
(images by HonestlyYUM)