It has been a while since I flipped through Terry’s Salad Samurai. I know salads are not just for the summer, but I smiled pleasantly as I looked through the chapters aimed at the colder months. I bookmarked the Beet Balls and Fries Salad after reading Nicole’s raving review, and felt now, during the winter, was a perfect time to whip up a salad featuring root vegetables.
It is kind of amazing I had the patience to make the whole recipe, but other than the baked beet “meatballs”, you basically assemble the salad with a homemade dressing. With oats, bulgur and lentils (and beets, obviously!), the beet balls are actually quite hearty and filling and lend to a complete meal. Thyme, paprika, oregano and ketchup make them quite flavourful, too.
The beet balls are contrasted next to fingerling potatoes roasted with Old Bay seasoning, fresh tomatoes, mixed greens and sharp pickles. I used homemade pickles that I made from the recipe in The Canning Kitchen, and man, they have BITE! The creamy cashew dressing, with a touch of said bitey pickle and sun-dried tomatoes was a lovely vegan spin on Thousand Islands dressing.
I look forward to local produce from the spring, but until then, this is a perfect light winter salad. By the way, for any gardeners out there, have already started imaging what you will be growing? I really want to grow asparagus!
Beet Balls and Roasted Potato Salad with a Thousand Island Dressing (aka Beet Balls ‘n’ Fries Salad)
Adapted (slightly) from Salad Samurai
Author’s note: Fast food for the 21st century: toothsome, hearty beet and lentil “meat-balls” plus oven-roasted home fries live it up atop leafy greens and juicy tomatoes. Load it up with all the fixins (bread-and-butter pickles, please) and pass around the ultimate special sauce: a creamy cashew-based “Galapagos Islands” dressing for hearty burger goodness without the bun.
1-2/3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup uncooked green lentils
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 lb beets, peeled and shredded
1 tbsp oil of choice
2 tbsp ketchup
2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb mixed small/fingerling potatoes
2 tsp melted coconut oil
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or similar seasoned salt mix)
1/4 cup raw cashews
2/3 cup hot water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1.5 tsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 small shallot
1 tsp miso
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp onion granules
3 sun-dried tomatoes
1 large pickle chopped (1/4 cup)
2 large tomatoes, cored and diced
2 shallots, finely chopped
1-2 large dill pickles, thinly sliced
1. In a large saucepan, combine the vegetable broth, lentils, and thyme. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 35 minutes, or until tender. Use a fork to stir in the bulgur wheat, cover, and set aside for 20 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. This would be the perfect time to chop and shred the veggies if you haven’t already!
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, and spray them with cooking spray. Add the remaining beet ball ingredients to the lentil mixture and use your hands to knead the ingredients into moist dough. If the dough is overly wet, sprinkle in a tablespoon of oats at a time until the dough is no longer soggy but still moist. Use a small ice cream scoop (preferably one with a spring-loaded handle for fast, clean scooping) to scoop balls of beet dough onto the parchment of one of the baking sheets. Alternatively, use 2 heaping table-spoons of dough to gently form each ball and arrange on the parchment. Spray generously with oil and bake for 30 minutes, until the outsides are crusty and the insides are piping hot.
3. After you get the beet balls into the oven, scrub and dice the potatoes, toss with oil and seasoned salt, and spread in a single layer on the other baking sheet. Pop into the oven with the beet balls and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown, flipping occasionally.
4. In the meantime, make the dressing and chill it until ready to serve.
- Soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes. Pour into a blender (including the soaking water) and blend until very smooth. Alternatively, if you have a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec), no soaking is required: just pulse the cashews into a fine powder, add the hot water, and pulse again until very smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Chill the dressing in a tightly covered container until ready to use, or at least 20 minutes for the flavors to blend. Store chilled and use within 2 days.
5. When the balls and fries are done, arrange the greens, tomatoes, onion, and pickle in large serving bowls. Top each salad with beet balls (3 to 4 per salad is a good start; you can always add more if you’re still hungry) and a generous portion of roasted potatoes. Serve with the chilled dressing.
Time: 1 hour
From Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, 2015.