Beet & Apple Pasta Salad

IMG_0336Another entry in my summer salads. The next post will be back to serious stuff, I promise! (Though food is serious!)

Only last summer did I learn to like beets, and this is a fantastic way to enjoy them. The earthy beet flavors were balanced nicely against the tart sweetness of the apple and the dressing, with the garlic adding a nice kick. Also, the crunchy apple and soft roasted beet and boiled pasta played well together.

Here’s the specifics:

  • 1-2 small beet, roasted and then chopped
  • 1/2 medium apple, chopped fine
  • 1 TBSP minced red onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic scape
  • 1 TBSP sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • A few leaves of spinach and basil, to taste
  • 1/4 cup pasta, cooked
  • 1 TBSP each olive oil and lemon juice; 1 tsp white balsamic vinegrette; dollop prepared Dijon mustard and honey

Because this is a salad, the directions for assembling this basically amount to “mix everything together.” I did that, then left it in the refrigerator for half an hour, so the flavors could develop. Then I took it out, topped it with bacon, and ate it.

I should note, when I roasted the beet I erred on the side of under-roasted, rather than over-roasted; I wanted the beet to be al dente. Also, if you can’t find garlic scapes, adding minced bottled garlic either to the dressing or the salad would work as well. One final note: I got the idea for this salad from this blog here, but since I only had a few of the ingredients mentioned, I used different ones instead. Creativity is the mother of invention.

In any case, this was wonderful. Highly recommended if you like beets, and if you don’t, perhaps the salad will help you learn!

It was wonderful.



Radish Panzanella


How not to do salad.

Whenever I hear someone say they don’t like salad, I get a little sad inside.

I love salad. 

It’s fresh and flavourful and so good for you!

My theory? If you say you don’t like salad, you just haven’t had it made right. Because honestly, I don’t care much for lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots in a bowl. This was the salad I grew up on, and – sorry, Mom! – it just wasn’t that great.

But then I went to college, where some days the salad bar was the only edible thing around, and I learned to add Craisins and nuts and beans to my salad. I learned to combine flavors and textures to make something delicious.

So this summer, now that fresh produce is in season and I finally have a smartphone, I want to highlight some of the salads that I eat. I get it, this is a totally dorky series of food posts. Please don’t give up on this blog – I have some posts on teaching and Christian living coming soon! But salads are delightful, and I want to inspire people to break out of the tomato-and-cucumber-tastes-like-I’d-rather-be-fat rut.

Here’s what I had today: radish panzanella.

My new book, The Flavor Bible, assures me that radishes go really well with bread, and so a bread salad (that’s basically what a panzanella is) with radishes made sense. To the radishes and bread I added red onion, chickpeas, a little bacon and cheese, parsley, and Craisins. The Craisins were a great addition; their tart sweetness paired nicely with the peppery radishes. I topped the whole thing with a yogurt dressing.

Here’s the full recipe:IMG_0267

  • 3 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 TBSP Craisins
  • 1 TBSP chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1 slice bacon, fried
  • 1-2 TBSP feta cheese
  • 2 TBSP chopped red onion
  • 1 slice bread, torn into pieces and toasted

I’m running low on spinach, so I didn’t add it, but some gorgeous green spinach would be a nice addition. Once I’d chopped everything up, I made the dressing:

  • 1 TBSP plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp minced bottled garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp honey (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper

I shook the dressing together, stirred it into the chickpeas, then added the ingredients that weren’t likely to crumble: the onion, radishes, parsley, and craisins. Over the whole thing I added the bread, bacon, and cheese.