I’ve been hosting a lot of company lately. My husband’s colleagues keep showing up to the house so I guess that means they like my cooking. Or maybe it’s just the well-stocked liquor cabinet. Either way, I’ve been able to create some wonderful dinners in the last week and get to share them with others. That’s always satisfying for me.
Step one: Assess. Step two: Determine. That’s been my process lately. What do I have in the fridge and what kind of meal can I put together with what I have? I enjoy the challenge though. It lets me be creative and try something new. Of course as you probably know by now, I find a lot of inspiration for recipes on Pinterest. I’ll search for an ingredient I have and a way of serving it. I plugged in ‘fig’ and ‘salad’ and after a little bit of perusing, voila! I found a fabulous recipe for a roasted beet and fig salad on The Roasted Root. Be sure to check out those links. Her pictures are A-mazing! (Mine…not so much. But I’m working on it! Just check out my attempt at fig still life below.)
As usual, I didn’t have all the ingredients listed but instantly thought of replacements and ways to tweak this to my own taste. I used feta instead of goat cheese, omitted the walnuts as I didn’t have any, and I didn’t roast the beets in a foil packet as I’ve gotten pretty good at just roasting beets on a pan. I mixed the beets and figs with fresh greens and added a good handful of sprouts as well. I loved the way the feta turned a pinkish-purple color from the beets and the rich, fruity tang of the blackberry balsamic dressing added the perfect punch to the fresh flavors in this salad.
I served this roasted beet and fig salad alongside grilled chicken with a peach and jalapeño bbq sauce, and black-eyed peas. It was a big hit!
Do you like to spontaneously create recipes based on what you already have? Or would you rather plan a meal and shop for the necessary ingredients?
Recipe adapted from The Roasted Root.
Make this healthy salad with roasted beets and figs tossed with a blackberry balsamic vinaigrette for your next cookout! Fresh flavors are intensified by roasting the beets and figs. A sweet and smoky dressing is enhanced by fresh blackberries. Tossed all together, this salad packs a flavor punch!
- 2 medium beets, washed and chopped into 1/4"-1/2" pieces
- 6 figs, washed and quartered
- 6-8 cups greens, washed and chopped
- 3 oz (6 tablespoons) of crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- Gently salt and pepper the beets.
- Line a pan with foil, spread beets in an even layer and roast for 45 minutes tossing halfway through cooking.
- Line a second pan with parchment paper, place figs on pan and roast for 10 minutes.
- Add the blackberries and vinegar to a saucepan and bring to a full boil.
- Smash the berries with a fork and let contents reduce by 1/2.
- Stir in honey.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the pulp from the liquid using a the back of a spoon to release as much juice as possible.
- Pour the balsamic reduction into a jar and let cool.
- Add greens, beets, figs, feta and sprouts to a bowl and toss well.
- Pour the olive oil into jar with balsamic reduction and shake well to combine.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss again.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.