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Ruby Salad with Crumbled Feta & Spicy Pepitas

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Serves 8

  • Make the menu:
    A Game-Day Chili Menu
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 70

Pure color was the inspiration for this salad: crimson beets paired with a slaw of brilliant red cabbage and red onions, with a crumble of snow-white feta on top.

For the beets:
  • 1 bunch small beets (4 to 5), trimmed and scrubbed
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary, or 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the spicy pepitas
  • 6 oz. pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds, available in natural-foods or specialty stores)
  • 1 tsp. corn or peanut oil
  • 1 tsp. pure chile powder (such as New Mexico or ancho)
  • 3/4 tso. kosher salt
For the salad:
  • 4 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage (from 1 very small head)
  • 1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. (4 cups) mixed baby greens
  • 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 6 oz. spicy pepitas (1 generous cup; see the ingredients above and instructions below)

Roast the beets: Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Put the beets, herbs, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil in the center; toss the beets to coat. Fold the foil into a loose-fitting but tightly sealed packet around the beets. Roast the packet on the baking sheet until the beets are tender, about 1 hour and 20 min. Let the beets cool completely in the foil. When cool, use a paring knife to peel and slice the beets into wedges (six to eight per beet.) The beets can be roasted up to two days ahead and refrigerated.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, 1?4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil.

Toast the pepitas: Heat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, toss pepitas with corn oil, chile powder, and kosher salt. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 375°F until golden and fragrant, 6 to 8 min. (you'll hear them popping). Let cool completely on the baking sheet. If making ahead, store in an airtight container.

Make the salad: Combine the -cabbage and onion in a medium bowl and set aside. Up to an hour before serving, add the beet wedges to the cabbage and onions; toss gently with half of the vinaigrette.

Just before serving, add the baby greens, half of the feta, and half of the pepitas; toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Arrange on a big serving platter and garnish with the remaining feta and pepitas.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 300; Fat (g): fat g 25; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 9; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 13; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 10; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 800; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 10; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Excellent! I loved it. I used pine nuts, though, instead of pepitas. Even my 9 year old loved this salad.

I made this entire menu. The salad was my favorite part (although the dessert and the chili were pretty darn good as well). This was excellent. The beets were outstanding. Even my wonderful bride liked them and she hates beets in general. My gourmet step-daughter liked this one as well. I thought the pepitas were a little too salty but it all came together really well. And lastly, I loved the vinaigrette. One final note, the shopping list that comes with the menu is incomplete as I returned from the store after using it to find that this salad recipe called for mixed greens and it was not on the list.

A family favorite. A splendid combination of flavors, colors, and textures.

This recipe worked for me on all levels except the cheese. I don't think Feta is a good choice. I think a crumbled queso fresco or just plain crumbled farmers cheese is better.

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