Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus & Tarragon Cashew Cream
Who says salads are all about the leaves? Beets are back, baby! This Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus & Tarragon Cashew Cream recipe from Austin-based Chad and Derek Sarno is from their new book, The Wicked Healthy Cookbook, featuring all plant-based recipes. We love this recipe particularly because several of the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time, making it a luxurious lunchtime option for the week.
FOR THE BEETS: Preheat the oven to 250ºF. Cut a giant sheet of foil twice the length of a baking sheet and place half of it on the pan.
In a bowl, toss the whole beets with the oil and thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper. Pour the beets onto the foil and scatter on the lemon slices. Leave space between the beets so they can steam. Fold over the other half of the foil and crimp all the edges, sealing the package tightly. Place the pan in the oven and slow roast until the beets are tender enough for a fork to slide in and out easily, 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Open the package and let cool.
When cool, put on some gloves to prevent staining yourself and peel away the beet skins with a paring knife (not under running water). Then slice the beets into small wedges. At this point the beets can be chilled in the fridge for a day or two before serving.
Just before serving, toss the beet wedges in a bowl with the vinegar and chives. Taste a wedge, then season with more salt and pepper until it tastes good to you.
FOR THE BREAD CRISPS: Defrost the bread slightly.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
While the bread is semi-frozen, cut into paper-thin slices on a mandoline. Place each slice one-by-one into the hot pan and cook until lightly browned and crisp, turning for even cooking, about a minute per side. Place on paper towels and immediately season with granulated garlic and salt. They will crisp up as they sit.
TO ASSEMBLE EACH PLATE: Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons cashew cream in a line on the bottom of the plate. Arrange the beets, citrus segments, and bread crisps over the cashew cream, alternating the pieces.
Toss the watercress with the olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Arrange the dressed watercress over the top of the salad. Finish with a pinch of flake salt and cracked black pepper.
Soak the cashews for at least 3 hours or overnight in water to cover. Drain.
Using a high-speed blender, blend the soaked cashews, 1/3 cup water, and lemon juice until super smooth and the consistency of sour cream, about 2 minutes. You may need to add a little more water to get the right consistency. Make sure the mixture is swirling constantly in the blender for total smoothness. You could use a standard countertop blender, but you’ll have to blend longer for super smoothness. You could also use a food processor, but the finished cream will not be as smooth.
Pour the cashew cream into a mixing bowl and stir in the nutritional yeast, tarragon, chives, and salt. Cover and chill for up to 2 days. Bring back to room temp before using.