Spinach Salad With Honey Vinaigrette

We all get comfort food cravings, but how many of you get healthy food cravings? Every so often -- especially after filling up on lots of wine and cheese or decadent desserts -- I really just want a nice salad or some fruit.

Last night, Jeff went to the Bruins game (they won in double overtime!), which meant I could make whatever I wanted for dinner and not have to take his likes and dislikes into account. There's nothing wrong with being selfish sometimes! So after I dropped him off at the T, I headed to Whole Foods.

I usually go grocery shopping with a very specific list, but all I had written down were the almonds and chocolate I needed for some cookies I wanted to bake (I can't be entirely healthy), half and half for Jeff's coffee (I use Silk and still had plenty), and the very general "fruits and veggies."

I loaded up my cart as I weaved my way through the produce department. I ended up getting three packages of Olivia's Organics' salads. I wanted to try the herb salad because I had read about it on someone else's blog (unfortunately, I can't remember whose), but I also knew I wanted to make some sort of strawberry spinach salad, so I got the baby spinach too. And then I knew that Jeff wouldn't eat any of those for tonight's dinner (I made us big salads with chicken), so I got the baby romaine for him.

I grabbed a bunch of fruits and veggies for my "selfish" salad and for tonight's dinner, and then I got a mini baguette, and a few other things and headed home to get working on what I hoped would be an interesting and flavorful salad that would satisfy all of my cravings.

I absolutely loved the final product, and I hope you will too! I decided to dress the salad with a honey vinaigrette because I thought it would pair really well with all of the fruit. It's really a lovely combination. If you're short on time, you can skip the roasted beets, but I think they really work well with the other components of the salad and add a nice splash of color too.

Spinach Salad With Honey Vinaigrette


A couple handfuls of baby spinach
1 1/2 roasted golden beets, chopped (see recipe below)
1 Cara Cara orange, segmented
5 strawberries, hulled and sliced
10 raspberries, halved
1 tablespoon toasted sliced almonds
Shavings of your favorite cheese (I used Robusto -- a Gouda)
Honey vinaigrette (see recipe below)


Place baby spinach on a dinner plate.

Top with roasted beets and orange segments.

Arrange strawberry slices on top of oranges and beets.

Sprinkle on raspberry halves.

Toss toasted almonds over the salad.

Decorate with cheese shavings.

Drizzle with dressing.

Dig in!

I can't even describe all the flavors in here. There's sweetness, tartness, acidity, fruitiness, earthiness, nuttiness... I just love it. And I love that I put it together myself by finding fresh ingredients and incorporating some of my favorite foods and flavors.

Roasted Beets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim ends of three similar-sized golden beets, and scrub them well. Place beets on a piece of foil, drizzle them with canola oil, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Close up the foil to encase the beets and place the package on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes or until beets are tender. (Test by sticking a fork or knife into them.) Carefully open the foil package, and set beets aside to cool. Once they are cool enough to touch, peel the skin off and chop them. (Helpful hint: Thomas Keller recommends using a paper towel to peel the skin off the beets in Ad Hoc at Home, and it works like a charm!)

Use 1 1/2 beets for the salad, and save the rest to make a salad for lunch the next day.

Honey Vinaigrette (adapted from Ad Hoc at Home)

Combine 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil in a measuring cup. Pour 1/3 cup champagne vinegar and 3 tablespoons of honey into food processor bowl. Start food processor, and slowly add combined oils while processor is running. (Dressing can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 month.)

What would you put in your "selfish" salad? Remember, you don't have to think about anyone else, just what you like and crave!