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My current salad on repeat.

In April, Chris and I took a road trip up through Niagara Falls across the Queen Elizabeth Highway to Quebec and then down across Maine to the coast at Bar Harbor and back to Ohio.  While we saw many amazing places, Quebec City is incredible if you haven't been, Bar Harbor is stunning but we mostly ate our way across the countryside.  Canadian burgers in Niagara, apple pie at the "Big Apple", poutin in quebec along with many pastries as it is a French city, lots of lobster in Maine and the most delicious blueberry pie in Maine with it being the state's official dessert.  Nothing disappointed, but this salad we had in a random town driving along stuck out to me.

Oddly enough it was at a steakhouse, but Chris and I were just wanting something a little lighter for dinner that day and I don't know about you but how many times do you look at your dinner date and ask "what are you gonna get?" only for them to answer the same thing you were thinking?  We both went with it anyways.  At the restaurant the salad was a bed of greens, balsamic pickled beets, crumbled goat cheese and a balsamic vinegarette.  While it was amazing, it did have a little more pucker power than I was expecting!  So when my daughter's obsession with pickled beets appeared earlier this summer, I knew I would recreate that salad.  I changed the dressing to a creamier, slightly sweet dressing to balance the punch of the beets and the tang of the goat cheese and now this salad is on repeat at least once a week at our house.  It's great with some pan sauteed chicken tenders or shrimp added as well.  Enjoy!

Balsamic Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Dressing

1/4 cup of your favorite mayo ( I use hellman's or Duke's)

2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar (if you're like me and shop for the cute bottles, go with Star brand)

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons green onions, only the green parts, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Literally put it all in a bowl and whisk together, voila!

To be honest, I never the measure the ingredients, I just put the ingredients in a bowl and taste.  Maybe you want it sweeter, add more honey.  Looking for more tang?  Add more vinegar.  Want it thicker, add more mayo.  Let your tastebuds be your guide.  Don't write a recipe off if it doesn't taste great to you, just adjust it to your liking.  We all have different tastes, but that's what makes the world go round!

To assemble the salad, I like to use a big plate and put down a nice bed of lettuce.  I like to use the spring mix  so that the lettuce has a more subtle flavor.  Next,  sprinkle crumbled goat cheese.  While you can get goat cheese crumbles, I suggest using a log of it and crumbling it yourself.  It is more creamier this way which adds such an amazing texture to the salad. ( I love teh $1.99 log from Aldi)  Lastly top with pickled beets and drizzle with dressing.  You can stop there or add chicken or shrimp.  As you eat it, the dressing becomes a beautiful light fuschia color from the beet juice and the flavors come together in a way that is unexpectedly to die for.  It's also a great meal to have some simple bread with to soak up that beautiful dressing at the end.

 

Lastly if goat cheese and beets aren't your jam, just make the dressing and use it on your favorite salad combination instead.  I'd love to hear your combos too!  Another one we love is spring mix, grapes, homemade croutons, candied pecans and chicken.  So. Good.

 canned beets we made at home

When we do beets at home, I'm not a hard core canner.  We do a couple bunches of beets in a small saucepan that makes a couple of jars and then just store them in the fridge.  No pressure cooker or water baths here.  They don't stick around very long, so this process works perfect for us!

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