Friday, February 18, 2011

Vanilla and Beets

Whenever I encounter the lovely scent of vanilla it makes me happy.  This is why I often dab on a bit of vanilla essential oil in the morning so I can enjoy the scent throughout the day!  Afterall vanilla is the base of many delicioius things such as sugar cookies, cakes, or ice cream.  But it is actually quite good in savory applications as well!  Such as in a vanilla squash risotto, or in pureed rutabaga with a little coconut oil, or with beets in a salad!  I had a few beets last night and I decided to combine them with something vanilla laced. 

I roasted up some beets and rutabegas, and combined them with some dried tart cherries and salty sweet pecans in a salad, then whisked together a vanilla citrus vinaigrette and tossed it all together.  It was wonderful!  The vanilla gave the dressing a wonderful light scent and flavor to the salad without overwhelming it.  I suppose it was a little dessert like, but savory as well, and so delicious for the little amount of time it took to prepare!  Here is the recipe if you would like to try vanilla in a little different way than the usual! 

Roasted  Beet and Rutabaga Salad with Toasted Pecans and Dried Cherries with Vanilla Citrus Dressing
Serves 3

3 medium beets, thinly sliced
3 small rutabagas, thinly sliced on the diagonal
olive oil
sea salt

1/2 cup pecans
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp maple sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground chipotle powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp riesling vinegar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
seeds of one vanilla bean
1 Tbsp agave nectar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

5 cups mixed flavorful greens such as arugula, mizuna and dandilion
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Line three baking sheets with foil, and spray with nonstick spray. Toss beets and rutabagas with just enough olive oil to coat, and spread out on sheet pans.  Roast until starting to brown at edges and tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with sea salt, and let cool to room temp. Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Toss pecans with agave nectar, maple sugar and sea salt and spread out on one of the sheets. Roast in the oven until fragrant and starting to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Combine greens, shallots, and roasted veggies, in a large bowl, pour dressing over, and toss with hands to coat. Divide salad between 3 plates and top with toasted nuts and cherries.


Belinda @zomppa said...

What a unique use of vanilla! Creative.

Sandra said...

This is so so beautiful! Love the colors and I love beets and vanilla, really unique salad and must be so tasty!

Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy said...

Can't believe I never thought of adding vanilla to a salad dressing! Must be so delicious! Thanks for the idea :).

Lizzy said...

Such gorgeous vegetables, Amy! And that is one delicious looking salad...mmmmm.

Kate @ said...

Oh yummmm... the veggies, the salad, that dressing!!! it all provoked a bit of drool :)

Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul said...

Wow! This looks incredible! Beets and pecans are a great mix, and that dressing sounds DELICIOUS!