4 small red and/or golden beets (unpeeled; about 12 to 14 ounces total)
1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
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
¼ medium red onion, cut into thin slices
8 bibb lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
Flesh of ¼ ripe avocado, cut into small chunks, for garnish (optional)
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese, optional garnish
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, optional garnish (see note)
½ teaspoon honey or light agave nectar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup packed fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄8 teaspoon sea salt, or more as needed
1⁄8 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.
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