It’s not new news that beets are one of the healthiest foods out there. Not only do they contain antioxidant phytonutrients that boast anti-inflammatory and detoxification benefits, but they are also packed with folate, B vitamins, iron, potassium and magnesium. However, the health benefits don’t end there! Beets are high in nitrates, which when converted to nitric oxide by our bodies, has been proven to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. Plus, they are quite tasty and colorful in a salad and this recipe has some unique twists with juicy orange segments, creamy ricotta and toasty macadamia nuts.
Learn how to make a balanced salad with a variety of colors and textures, including the technique for segmenting oranges.
Level Ups (optional)
Look for fresh ricotta, or a boutique brand ricotta, in the specialty cheese case at your grocer. Try serving with fresh herbs. For a complete meal, serve with a whole grain or small piece of salmon.
The orange segments could be replaced by another citrus like blood orange or grapefruit, and thinly sliced red onion or celery could be substituted for the fennel.
- 1 ½ cups, cooked and diced red beets
- 1 ½ cups, cooked and diced golden beets
- 2 oranges
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp white balsamic or rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper
- 8-10 ounces dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula)
- ½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup macadamia or pistachio nuts, finely chopped
- Beets can be bought freshly prepared from many store delis. Or, to cook beets and preserve the most nutrients, fill a steamer pot with 2 inches of water. Add beets with skin on, cover and steam for 15 minutes. Remove beets from the pot and rub the skin of with a paper towel. Let cool before dicing.
- To segment the oranges, use a sharp knife to cut the top and bottom ends of the oranges off. Turn the oranges upright on the cutting board. Use the knife to delicately slice the peels off of the oranges, following the curved shape of the oranges. Once the peels are removed, gently cut between the white sheaths to remove the segments into a colander, using a bowl underneath to catch the juices.
- Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to the bowl with the juice from the oranges and whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl, toss the greens with a conservative amount of the dressing. Toss until all of the greens are well coated. Transfer the greens to a large platter or divide between plates.
- Sprinkle the fennel and beets over the greens. Place the orange segments throughout the beets.
- Dollop the ricotta cheese over the top of the salad, and sprinkle with the nuts.