A few days earlier, I shared with you a slice of birthday cake. The sweet memories of the stacked honey cake layers still linger. But that sweetness had to wait until after dinner. What came before the cake was a culinary experience of sorts, and a test of boundaries for my family. Would a group of somewhat conservative eaters (I’m primarily pointing fingers at my dad and my brother) appreciate a trinity of beets, oranges, and avocado? There was only one way to find out.
As I spent several hours in my parents’ kitchen preparing a few salads for my birthday dinner, I came across three beets at the bottom drawer of their refrigerator. I am pretty sure the beets were intended for a pot of borscht, but I had something else in mind for their final destination. I decided to drizzle them with olive oil, generously season them with salt and pepper, and roast them in a hot oven. Oranges and avocado joined the party and offered a glorious array of colors.
Let me tell you, the salad got high scores and was approved by every picky eater.
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Scrub the beets, trim off the ends and stems, and cut the beet into six wedges.
3. Place beets on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until tender.
4. Supreme (segment) oranges, reserving orange juice for the dressing.
5. Arrange cooled beets on a platter in a circular shape.
6. Slice avocado and arrange between wedges of beets, alternating with orange supremes.
7. Drizzle the salad with orange juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
That’s it folks! If you feel super fancy, you might add nuts and cheese to the salad. You can also arrange the salad on top of arugula or your favorite salad greens.
Why the salad works: the texture variation between the buttery, creamy avocado and the hearty beets offers a perfect mouthfeel in every bite. The sweetness of the oranges compliments the earthy sweetness of the beets, while the oranges’ acidity cuts the avocado’s richness nicely.
The rest of the birthday dinner table:
And one more shot of the cake: