Bear with me: I grew up an hour from Cape Cod and it’s November. There are about to be more cranberries. Are you a beet person? I never liked them as a kid, but I got super into them in college, where they were always at the salad bar. It was Maine and it was cold, and it felt wrong to eat things like tomatoes and zucchini, even in salad.
Now comes the part where I confess I didn’t cook my own beets for this recipe. Instead, I opted for those super-convenient vacuum-sealed packages you can find in the produce section of most supermarkets (they are usually next to the salad dressings that have to be refrigerated). Roasting beets isn’t hard, but it is messy, and it’s Monday and I have a manicure and I just didn’t feel like it. Please don’t make me feel guilty.
This is a beautiful, festive salad that works great as a side dish or served over greens as a light lunch. The spiced walnuts are addictive (you will be glad you have leftovers!) but if you don’t have time to make them, plain toasted walnuts are just fine.
Beet Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts
Serves 4 as a side
Loosely adapted from Food Network Magazine
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cooked and peeled beets, cubed
1/2 cup Spiced Walnuts (recipe follows), or plain toasted walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the cranberries, water, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the cranberries pop, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Whisk in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss with the beets, walnuts, dried cranberries, and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Makes 2 cups
2 cups walnut halves
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the walnut halves in a medium bowl. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the cinnamon, chili powder, and cayenne. Pour over the walnuts, add the sugar and salt, and toss until the walnuts are well coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 15 minutes.