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Fresh Take on Salads

Posted Aug 31 2010 9:09am
By, Vanessa
OurHealth Staff Writer

Summer is almost over, but you still have time to indulge yourself in some of your favorite warm weather fruits and vegetables. If you ever get tired of the same ho-hum side salad with lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes and you're looking to change it up, we have just the recipe for you!

Summer salads that have unique combinations of fruits and vegetables are the perfect way to step outside of the culinary box. You can add color, nutrition and delicious flavor to your meals in ways you never even imagined.

Recently I was the guest at a friends house in Montana and she served up a fresh and yummy nectarine and beet salad. I do not fancy myself a fan of beets and the combination of beets with nectarines, feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette really did not sound like an appealing choice. Not wanting to be rude of course, I scooped one small serving onto my plate. I timidly took a bite and wow! It was fresh, sweet, clean and delicious.

My palette is always evolving and changing and I love it when I find something new that I love to eat and that's also healthy. I truly believe that one of the biggest obstacles that many black women face in striking a balance with a diet that's healthy but that they also enjoy eating, is stepping out of the comfort zone of foods they grew up eating and trying new things.

After getting a taste of such a fresh summer salad, I decided to go a little further and try out a salad that I have been eyeing for awhile at one of my favorite restaurants in my area, Salute, a French style bistro. They serve a watermelon salad with a gin-lime vinaigrette, arugula, ricotta, almonds and pink peppercorns.

(Watermelon salad from Salute)

Have you ever been in a restaurant and you literally wanted to lick the plate? That's how good this salad was. I actually considered ordering a second salad but I do understand, all things in moderation. ☺

(Almost gone!)

The restaurant promised to email me the recipe to the watermelon salad, but I am still waiting...hum! Based on the simple list of ingredients, I think I can figure it out myself. I'm going to attempt it this weekend, maybe with a grilled NY strip or some Tilapia and I'll post my results next week.

In the meantime, here is the great recipe for the beet and nectarine salad. Enjoy!


medium beets (about 1 lb)
nectarines, sliced
cup crumbled Feta or Brie cheese (1 oz)
tablespoons walnuts, toasted*

tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
tablespoons orange juice
tablespoons finely chopped onion
teaspoon Dijon mustard
teaspoon salt

  • Heat oven to 425°F. Remove greens from beets, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem. Do not trim or cut root. Wash beets well. Tightly wrap beets in double layer of foil, and roast on cookie sheet 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until tender. When beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding stems and root ends, then cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges.
  • 2In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients with wire whisk.
  • 3In large bowl, toss half the dressing with mixed greens. Divide evenly among 4 salad plates. Arrange beets, nectarines, cheese and walnuts over each salad. Drizzle remaining dressing over each salad. Serve immediately.
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