Beet and Watercress Salad with Toasted Walnuts

Another amazing and incredibly simple recipe from Loba’s Enchanted Pantry cookbook. This one is especially timely, with root veggies very much in season and Watercress still available in many places. Even when I lived in the NE I could often find Watercress growing from springs that don’t freeze in the Winter, look under the snow in a sweetwater spring and you may be surprised by the green life growing underneath. Here in the Gila, this tasty Mustard relative grows slowly but happily for most of the cold season unless disturbed by floods, which aren’t such an uncommon occurrence come January. If all else fails, you can likely find an overpriced bunch of Watercress at any big city whole foods store.

Serves 2

1 big beet
1 big bunch of watercress
12 walnuts
Sliced oranges, to garnish
Orange Sunflower Dressing (see below).
Prepare dressing as described below or use your own favorite citrusy dressing, then toast the walnuts in a small skillet with a bit of butter until they’re nicely browned.  Rinse the cress until it’s clean, and pinch each sprig off the thick stem.  Peel the beet with a potato peeler and grate it on the biggest holed side of a four-sided grater.  Prepare a bouncy bed of cress on pretty plates, and mound the beets in the center.  Crumble or chop the walnuts a bit before scattering over top.  Each plate gets a few tablespoons of dressing and three or four sliced oranges in their skins arranged around the edge of the plate.

Variations:

•With carrots:  For each serving, shred 1/2 of a medium side carrot. Put the shredded carrot on top of the cress in a mound, and top with the beets.
•With carrots and rice:  Instead of layering, add a cup of white rice and mix all the ingredients together, including the dressing.  This method makes a more substantial serving, and turns the rice a pretty shade of magenta!

Sunflower Yogurt Sauce

This sauce is outrageous in fajitas with grilled chicken, as a dip for veggies, or thinned slightly as a salad dressing, and I’m sure you can think up even more.  It’s that good!  You can find sunflower butter at whole foods stores, but even better is to make your own.  Just grind up a bunch of hulled and toasted sunflower seeds in a stone mortar, meat grinder, blender or food processor!

1 cup of yogurt
4 tablespoons sunflower butter or ground toasted sunflower seeds (or you can substitute tahini)
2-5 cloves of garlic, minced finely
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine all in a small bowl, tasting and adjusting as you like.  Try with a raw carrot.

Variation:
•Orange Sunflower Yogurt Dressing
Replace the lemon juice with orange juice, and add the minced rind of 1 orange.

1 Comment

  1. shamana.flora
    Oct 27, 2007

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..beets and citrus are like apples to cinnamon…the perfect pair! That dressing sounds fabulous! I’ll try it with my coconut milk yogurt!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>