beet, carrot, and kale salad with pistachios and feta

salads, spring, summer, vegetarian, winterFieldandForestComment

My parents are notorious among friends and family for their fierce hatred of beets.  There was an incident many years before I was born involving a cabin, a power outage, beets, and food poisoning, that I believe has festered and expanded into almost a PTSD-level association where the mention of them incites physical shuddering*.

Oh wow, I just thought of the best April Fool's Day joke... I am going to give my dad a copy of Harry Potter, but I'm going to cross out each place that says "Voldemort" and instead write-in "beets."  HA.

Because I trusted my parents' judgement, I thought that I, too, was a beet hater, just like I thought I was a democrat (which turned out to be true) and I was scared of roller coasters (which turned out to be false-ish).  I don't actually remember my first beet, but somewhere in college, I must have ventured out of my comfort zone and given them a try, because I have spent many meals since then trying to make up for lost time.  Beets are freaking amazing.

This salad is a favorite winter-into-spring-into-summer recipe, and is great for when you want your meal to be vegetables, but you want vegetables to be a MEAL.  You will not feel hungry after you finish this salad, though if you're worried, you could always do what I do and make the entire recipe for just yourself.

Beet, Carrot, and Kale Salad with Pistachios and Feta
(serves 1-2 for dinner, or 3-4 as a side salad)

3 large beets, roasted, peeled, and cut into 1-inch dice (see note on roasting beets below)
1 pound carrots, peeled and roasted (I had baby Paris Market carrots on hand; you can use unpeeled young carrots, simply scrub them well before roasting)
1 bunch purple (or other) kale
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped, divided
1/4 pound sheep's milk feta, divided

For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely minced 1 teaspoon kosher salt
A few grinds of black pepper
A few good glugs of olive oil (2-4 tablespoons; I usually err on the side of less, and use just enough to create a dressing with a little body that is still nicely bright from the acid).

Make the dressing in the bottom of the bowl you'll use for the finished salad.  Combine the lemon juice and red wine vinegar, and add the garlic clove, salt, and pepper.  Let it hang out for a moment while the salt dissolves and the acid tempers the garlic slightly (this is a great time to pick the parsley leaves off of their stems or chop the pistachios if you haven't already, OR you can watch this if everything's prepped and ready to go).  Whisk the oil into the acid mixture to emulsify, and taste using a bit of a kale leaf.  Adjust seasoning as necessary, and set aside.

Rinse the kale leaves well, and towel dry.  Lay a leaf flat on a cutting surface, and slice out the stem (you can save the stems for soup, or give them to some soon-to-be-happy chickens).  Repeat with the rest of the kale leaves.  Once all of the stems have been removed, stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them up lengthwise.  Slice (chiffonade) them into 1/4-1/2 inch thick "ribbons" (depending on your kale, you may get pieces of different sizes in your finished salad, which I think is lovely). Run your knife through the ribbons once or twice if you prefer smaller pieces of kale.

Place the kale in your salad bowl, and add the carrots, beets, and parsley leaves.  Toss the salad gently with your hands until everything is evenly coated with dressing.  Crumble 2/3 of your feta over the salad, and sprinkle over 2/3 of your pistachios.  Toss again gently.  Crumble the remaining feta over the salad, and sprinkle on the remaining pistachios.  Serve immediately.

*UPDATE: so, after speaking with my parents, I learned that the cabin/power outage/food poisoning combo was related to CLAMS not BEETS.  The beet hatred, to quote my father, "is genetic."