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updated: 6/5/2013 11:14 AM

Farmers Market Salad With Herbed Vinaigrette

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4 small red and/or golden beets (unpeeled; about 12 to 14 ounces total)

1 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

2 cups packed arugula, rinsed and dried

1 cup watercress, rinsed and dried

1 cup mache, rinsed and dried

6-8 radishes, cut into thin rounds

medium red onion, cut into thin slices

8 bibb lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried

Flesh of ripe avocado, cut into small chunks, for garnish (optional)

cup crumbled goat cheese, optional garnish

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, optional garnish (see note)

Vinaigrette

teaspoon honey or light agave nectar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

cup packed fresh dill

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 large clove garlic

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

18 teaspoon sea salt, or more as needed

18 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed

For the salad: Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the beets, oil and sea salt to taste in a glass baking dish; toss to coat evenly. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 35-40 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Cool completely, then trim the beet ends; use a paper towel to slip off the skins (and discard them). Cut the beets into thin rounds and place in a stain-proof bowl.

Combine the arugula, watercress, mache, radish slices and red onion in a mixing bowl.

For the vinaigrette: Combine the honey or agave nectar, lemon juice, dill, chives and garlic in a blender or mini food processor. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Add about 3 tablespoons of vinaigrette to the bowl of greens; toss to coat evenly. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter so they are fairly flat. Top with the dressed salad greens, beets and some or all of the optional garnishes: avocado chunks, goat cheese and pine nuts. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette just before serving.

Serves two.

Cook's note: Toast pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning, until the nuts are golden brown and fragrant.

Nutrition values per serving: 260 calories, 18 g fat (3 g saturated), 24 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 5 g protein, 0 cholesterol, 420 mg sodium.

Elaine Gordon, EatingbyElaine.com

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