In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I like to look for light and bright dishes that break up the heaviness of the Thanksgiving menu. Whether for the big meal itself or served with a dinner menu during the days leading up to the holiday, a refreshing salad is a welcomed contrast to the big event. And since I will be spending 48 straight hours in the kitchen pre-Thanksgiving, the less prep time that goes into my meals before that day, the better. This Citrus, Beet, and Pomegranate Salad is all that and more — simple, bright, crunchy, healthy, low on ingredients but high in flavor. It may be the underdog of Thanksgiving season but a shoo-in for feel-good salad of the month.
Citrus, Beet, and Pomegranate Salad
Yields 4 portions
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 4-5 small red beets, ends trimmed
- ½ cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
- 2 manadarins, peeled and separated into segments
- 1 grapefruit (half juice, the other half cut into segments)
- 10 mint leaves, minced (use any leftover mint for Thanksgiving day mojitos!)
- 1½ tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- 3 tbsp. oil
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 oz soft cheese of choice (optional)
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Wrap beets tightly in foil and roast in middle of oven until tender, about 1¼ hours. When the beets are tender, remove from oven and cool. When they are cool enough to touch, unwrap beets and using a paper towel, wipe off the skins. Cut each beet into 6 wedges. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup or honey, oil, pinch of salt and pepper, cayenne, and juice from half of the grapefruit. Set vinaigrette aside. In large bowl, mix the beet wedges, grapefruit segments, mandarin segments, minced mint leaves, walnuts, pomegranate arils, cheese, and vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.