Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette

Summer is the best time for fresh, flavourful food and this salad is exactly that. It's the perfect combination of bitter greens, crunchy nuts and seeds, bold goat cheese, and sweet beets, all with a twist of citrus. Once the beets have been roasted, you can prepare the salad and the dressing in less than 15 minutes which is perfect for a quick, healthy meal. Pair it with a grilled chicken breast or some hearty whole grain bread and it's a great lunch or dinner!

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This recipe was inspired by the Summit Salad in the Whitewater Cooks: Pure, Simple and Real Creations from the Fresh Tracks Cafe Cookbook. I've simplified the salad and given the vinaigrette an overhaul to make it much lower in fat and higher in flavour!

You'll need:

For the salad:
8-10 cups organic mixed greens of your choice (I like a combination of arugula, baby kale, spinach and whatever other organic greens I have on hand)
4 beets
2 tsp olive oil (for roasting the beets)
A pinch or two of salt
2 carrots
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (I use low-fat)
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped green onion

For the vinaigrette:
3 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice and zest of one large orange
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, line a small baking dish with parchment paper. Wash the beets and cut off the stems. Place them in the parchment-lined baking dish and toss them in 2 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.

There's no need to peel the beets at this time. Once they've roasted they'll be very easy to peel. Keeping the peel on while they cook also helps prevent them from bleeding.

Roast the beets at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes.

After 45-50 minutes, remove the beets from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. They'll still be very warm after this time, but you'll be able to handle them without burning yourself.

While you're waiting for them to cool, measure the greens into a large bowl.

Grate the carrots, chop the green onions, and measure out the goat cheese, walnuts and sunflower seeds.

Remove the skin from the beets using a vegetable peeler, and chop the beets into bite-sized chunks.

Sprinkle the carrots over the salad greens, then add the beets, the goat cheese, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and green onions.

Set the salad aside while you prepare the dressing.

To a medium mason jar, add the honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

Using a microplane zester (you can find the one I use here), zest the orange and add the zest to the mason jar. Be careful not to grate to deeply...it's a good idea to avoid grating any of the white pith because it can be very bitter. Squeeze as much juice as you can out of the orange after it's been zested and add the juice to the mason jar as well.

Add a pinch or two each of salt and pepper. Close the lid of the jar tightly and shake until all the ingredients are combined. The mustard in the dressing not only adds flavour but also acts as an emulsifier (prevents the oil and vinegar from separating).

Drizzle the dressing over the salad (to your taste), toss gently and serve!

This salad is best served immediately after it's prepared, but the salad undressed (that sounds a little risque, but you know what I mean) and the dressing will keep in the fridge for several days. It's a great salad to accompany any barbecued meat but it's also great all on it's own.

This salad makes 6 servings and each serving is only 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus!

Hope you enjoy this one! What's your favourite summer salad recipe? Let me know in the comments below!

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