Monday, June 18, 2012

Meatless Monday...Roasted Beet and Blue Cheese Salad

Today is Monday, which is a meatless day in my house. I picked up some beautiful beets at the farmers market and decided to roast them for dinner. They really were the highlight of the meal, but I knew I needed to add some protein to feel satisfied. That's when the tofu came in. Beans would have been great on this salad, and a whole lot easier!

A closer look at Beets... Yes they are most commonly found canned or pickled, but nothing beats fresh beets! They are sweet and nutritious, especially when they are roasted. Did you know that you can prepare the root as well as the greens? In fact, when you buy them at your farmers market, you get both for the price of one... I paid 3$ for my bunch. You can saute or steam the greens as you would Swiss Chard or spinach. Or you can slice them thin and toss them in to a fresh garden salad.  As you can guess from their color, the beets are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. They are also a great source of folate, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. Cooking time can diminish some of the phytonutrients, so it is best to cook them shorter to preserve their natural nutritional value! 

How to prepare fresh beets...
1) Wash and rinse well, (they are grown underground after all!). Trim the top of the beet off (1/2 inch below the greens).
2) Steaming Beets: Place trimmer them in 2 inches of water, cover, and boil for ~15 minutes
    Baking Beets: Place beets on a cooking sheet. Cook for 45 minutes
    Microwaving Beets: Place beets in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 Tbsp water. Cook for 3 minutes, turn and cook for additional 3 minutes. 
3) Remove skin by placing on cutting board and rub with paper towel*

* I would reccommend peeling beets with gloves on, as they can stain your hands. If you get some on your hands, scrub with soap and lemon juice.

Its mid June, which means that Native Vermont strawberries are in season. I picked some up at one of the local farms and thought they would be a perfect addition to my salad.

Roasted Beet and Blue Cheese Salad:
Serves 4

1 bunch of beets (4-5 whole) with greens
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red vinegar
1/4 cup pecans, crushed
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles
3 Tbsp scallions, sliced

 Directions: Cut and prepare the beets as described by one of the procedures above.
Wash and slice the beet greens. Saute with 2 Tbsp water for 3 minutes, add oil and vinegar and cook additional minute. Remove from heat, toss with remaining ingredients. Can be served warm or cold.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 1/2 cups)
180 calories, 15 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 12 g fat (3 g saturated), 5 g fiber, 331 mg sodium

BBQ Tofu

1/4 cup BBQ sauce
8 oz Tofu
1 tsp garlic powder

Drain and press tofu to remove excess water. Cover in BBQ sauce and garlic powder for 15 minutes while grill is preheating. Place on grill and allow to cook for 5 minutes per side, remove and enjoy warm.

Nutrition Facts: 4 oz with BBQ sauce
125 calories, 8 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein,  6 g fat, 1 g fiber, 185 mg sodium.
Added bonus: a good source of calcium

What I ate on Meatless Monday:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with fresh blueberries, almonds, and a drizzle of honey

Snack: 1/2 cup greek yogurt with 1/2 banana

Lunch: Salad with tomato, artichoke, peppercini peppers, and cottage cheese

Dinner: Mesculin salad with cherry tomatoes, Roasted beet salad, 3 oz tofu, and small sweet potato

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