I’m always looking for a simple lunch that I can put together quickly. Sometimes it requires a bit of preparation and planning but if you think a day ahead you can have a delicious, healthy lunch ready in a matter of minutes. Roasting a big batch of vegetables that you can toss into salads and sandwiches for the week is a great way to spend a rainy Sunday at home. I find that I spend so much time cooking for others that I don’t take the time to prepare what I want to eat or what would nourish my body the best. I’m trying to do more meal planning and cooking ahead and I have to say that it makes getting through a busy week so much easier.
Beets are one of those vegetables that I love but don’t always give myself enough time for roasting them. When I was a kid I despised beets, because I had only seen them come out of a can. As I’ve grown older I’ve really learned to love beets any way I can have them. I like them roasted, grated into salads and I love to juice them. If you prep the beets the night before you can assemble the sandwich in a matter of minutes. If you don’t want to take the time to roast your own beets, Trader Joes has some really good ones or you could even hit up your grocery store salad bar or deli and grab some to make the sandwich. I know the addition of the chili paste might seem weird but it’s a trick I picked up from Ottolenghi years ago and it’s one of my favorite ways to dress my beets once they are roasted.
If you aren’t familiar with the Ottolenghi books I can’t suggest them enough. I adore the fact that he is best known for his treatment of vegetables even though he isn’t a vegetarian. I haven’t discussed this much here but I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian. I eat vegan a lot of the time and am spending even more time cooking without animal products since my son developed a dairy allergy but I consider myself an omnivore much like Yotam Ottolenghi, Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan. I eat a lot of plants, mostly plants but I eat meat and dairy as well. If you look back into my archives you’ll see that I used to post a lot more dishes that weren’t vegetarian and somewhere along the way I found myself doing that less and less. I think I started worrying that people thought I was a vegetarian and maybe I shouldn’t post those recipes anymore and the more I did it, the more hesitant I became to share what I really eat. I’ve seen people constantly vilified on the internet for their beliefs and the way they eat and I didn’t want to find myself in the same situation. There is no right or wrong way to eat in my opinion but I do feel that getting away from processed and factory farmed food is beneficial for our health and the environment. I love vegetables and choose to make them the majority of my diet but I eat pretty much anything. If I was on my own and only cooking for myself I would most likely give up all animal products but that just isn’t realistic for my family. I do a lot of cooking for my husband and son and I would like to share that with you as well. So don’t be alarmed if you happen to notice some changes around here, things are still the same I’m just giving you a bigger glimpse into my kitchen.
- 2 medium raw beets
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Asian chili paste or hot sauce
- 2 cibatta rolls or any crusty rustic bread you like
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 ounces of goat cheese
- handful of arugula
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the beets on a large piece of aluminum foil, pierce lightly with a fork. Lightly drizzle the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper and fold the foil into a packet. Roast the beets for 40 - 50 minutes or until you can pierce with a fork. Let them cool slightly and then peel the skins off with your fingers or a small paring knife. (Beware that the beets will stain your skin, use a paper towel to rub the skins off if don’t want red fingers) Thinly slice the beets and place them in a bowl.
- Combine the sherry vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and chili paste in a small bowl, and pour over the beets. Let the beets marinate for 15 minutes or you can prep to this point a day or two in advance. The longer the beets marinate in the dressing, the more flavorful they will be.
- To assemble the sandwich, slice the bread in half and spread lightly with the goat cheese. Layer the beets over the goat cheese and top with the avocado. Toss the arugula in the remaining dressing, place on the top and serve.