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Author Notes: I had this salad for lunch today...(and then another...) It is so light and refreshing, and yet the added element of the pine nut and mint pesto makes it taste sinfully rich and delicious. Try to use organic if you can (I know, I know you know all this already -- but when using raw ingredients it makes such a difference in taste!) You can either make tiny, individual composed salads, where you layer just one slice upon the other; or you can make a larger composed salad and use three or four pieces per level. It's best to use a mandolin to slice these if you have one, as you want each layer to be almost translucent. (If you don't have a mandolin, just try to slice as thinly as possible.) In the alternative...as I did for dinner -- Just layer it all in a big bowl, through a big dollop of pesto on top, put a bowl of the pesto on the side and dip and eat! (You can substitute regular oranges or tangerines for this dish as well...) —coffeefoodwritergirl
Serves 6-8 (as an appetizer)
For the Salad:
- 1 red beet
- 1 gold beet
- 1-2 avocados (depending on size)
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1 blood orange
- 1 English cucumber
- extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon (for squeezing)
- sea salt
- raw pine nuts for garnish
- mint sprigs for garnish
- Slice each item for “salad” as thin as possible (almost translucent) use a mandoline, if possible, otherwise just use a very sharp knife.
- Layer beet, gold beet, fennel, blood orange, cucumber and avocado; drizzling just the tiniest, tiniest bit of your most favorite olive oil on each level, along with just the smallest sprinkle of sea salt (except the blood orange level, which you should just leave alone and let melt into the rest of the flavors). You want to make two or three layers of levels, depending on size you want.
- Top with a dollop of pesto, drip pesto around salad and sprinkle around with pine nuts.
For pesto: (can be made a day ahead)
- A handful of mint (a little under a cup)
- A large handful of green basil (a very full cup)
- a little under ½ cup pine nuts (raw if possible)
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from about one small lemon)
- ¼ cup Bulgarian feta (or any feta will work)
- your very best extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 turns course ground black pepper
- Place all ingredients into food processor (or blender if you do not have). Drizzle a little olive oil in to moisten, then pulse a few times, and continue to drizzle olive oil in until reaches a smooth and fluid, but still very thick consistency. Check for salt and pepper and add more lemon juice if necessary; then blend on high until as smooth as possible. **Note: I also used this on pizza and it was AMAZING!!!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Lettuce-Free Salad
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe Using Fresh Basil
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cucumber Recipe
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dish with Blood Oranges, Feta and Mint