No garden-variety side dish, the Gigi Barbina salad has more than half your daily supply of vegetables, including beets (loaded with folate, potassium, and antioxidants) and butternut squash (for beta-carotene). Walnuts and goat cheese make it a meal.

This recipe is from The Real-Food Diet Mix-and-Match Meal Plan .
Servings: Serves 4
  • 4 (2- to 3-inch) beets
  • 1/2 small butternut squash , peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms (tough stems removed), halved or quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot , coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 pound mixed baby greens
  • 4 ounces goat cheese , crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts , toasted
  • Directions
    Note: If using a mix of beets, you can prevent colors from bleeding by roasting them in separate foil pouches; then peel and reserve separately.

    Preheat oven to 400°. Wrap beets tightly in foil, and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; let rest 10 minutes. Unwrap foil. Peel and cut beets into bite-size pieces; set aside.

    Toss squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste; spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast, tossing halfway through, until tender and golden, about 30 minutes. Repeat process with mushrooms, roasting about 15 minutes. Set both aside to cool.

    Meanwhile, make a vinaigrette: Put mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and shallot in a food processor. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in rest of olive oil and canola oil to make a puree; season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Divide vegetables among four plates. Toss greens with vinaigrette, then arrange on top; sprinkle with cheese and nuts.

    Recipe variations:

    Replace squash with...

    • Spring: Roasted sugar snap peas, snow peas, or asparagus.
    • Summer: Blanched or roasted green beans.
    • Fall/winter: Sweet potatoes; also can scatter pomegranate seeds on top.
    All year round: Substitute feta or ricotta salata for goat cheese.

    From Hudson Valley Mediterranean: The Gigi Good Food Cookbook, by Laura Pensiero. Copyright (c) 2009 by Laura Pensiero. Published by William Morrow Cookbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.


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