A delicious Cubby’s salad copycat — Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with a simple orange-honey vinaigrette.
Remember how I made a copycat recipe for a salad the husband and I loved? (Link right here!) Well back again at the same restaurant and copycatting ANOTHER salad because I’m on a major salad kick (baby weight GOOD-BYE! and besides, salads are just straight up delicious). Not to mention they do happen to be my 2-year old’s favorite so yes, I will continue to make all the salads.
By the way, what is your vote…do you think he liked the goat cheese? Guys. My two year old has a seriously sophisticated palate. Okay not really. BUT. He did like the salad with the goat cheese. Which, I didn’t even like goat cheese until about 2 weeks ago when I had this salad. It’s always been okay, but not my first pick. Except it just works on this salad and now I’m a pretty big fan. (But don’t be scared off of this recipe if you don’t like goat cheese because feta or no cheese will work too!)
Speaking of my 2-year old’s sophisticated palate, he’s becoming quite the taste tester for me. As we cook together he will taste what we are making and nod or shake his head if it’s good. If it’s really good he’ll do repeated, “Yummmm’s” or “MMMnnnn” sounds. It’s adorable.
Pretty much anytime we are making a dessert or anything that has sugar he gives quite the emphatically positive response. He then tries to continue to taste the recipe and would likely continue until the batter or whatever we are making is completely gone. So I have to limit him to 1, maybe 2, tastes at a time.
While in experimentation for my what I will be calling the best ever healthy brownies (COMING SOON!), we had a few (okay a lot!) of failures. The first time I made them, I affectionately named them “poison brownies.” They were AWFUL. Like the word “awful” in all caps doesn’t even do them justice. That day, Grey got the first bite and I knew right away they were going straight to the trash. He took a bite, looked at me like he was going to cry, spat the bite out quickly, and then started to wipe his tongue with his hands and ask for milk. Yeah. They were that bad.
After that, he refused to taste test anything else we made. He was terrified of my cooking. So we called it a day in the kitchen and watched a show of Clifford together. Clifford always makes things better. That or melts my brain a little…. Fast forward a few months of lots of testing and he is completely obsessed with those brownies. He ate half the batch of the ones I photographed in about 1 hour.
However, this post is about salad and the brownies will be coming soon enough. 🙂 This salad whips up SO quickly. I opted to use canned beets which makes it way quick. If you do have some extra time or love the taste of roasted beets, you could roast them for this salad.
If you do opt for roasting them, remove the tops and roots of the beets (use 2-3 depending on their size for this salad). Peel them and then cut them into small chunks. Place the cut the beets on a baking sheet and toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the beets for about 30-35 minutes turning over the beets with a spatula during the cooking process about once or twice. Once the beets are tender, remove them from the oven and toss them in a little bit of freshly squeeze orange juice (leftover from the dressing).
While it adds a lot of flavor for sure, this salad is also amazing without roasting the beets and it’s nice because it’s so quick. Open a few cans, chop up an avocado, blend the dressing, and toss it with lettuce. YUM.
- 6 ounces mixed greens lettuce I use 50/50 blend spinach and spring mix leaves
- 1 large avocado
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup toasted pistachios
- 1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges
- 1/2 - 1 full can (15 ounces) full can small whole beets (OR fresh roasted beets; see recipe notes)
- Crumbled goat cheese or feta will work
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tablespoon poppyseeds
Place the lettuce in a large bowl.
Remove the pit and peel of a ripe avocado. Chop into small pieces and toss with lemon juice. Add to the lettuce.
Drain the mandarin oranges and add those.
Drain and rinse the whole beets. Allow to dry. (Depending on how many beets you want in the salad, you may only want to use half the can. I'm crazy about beets so we generally use 3/4ths the can in the salad and then eat the rest with dinner)
Chop up the whole beets and add to the salad.
Toss the salad with the dressing (see instructions below) and then add the toasted pistachios and crumbled feta or goat cheese.
Do not toss the salad with the dressing until right ready to enjoy the salad. This salad doesn't store or sit well.
Combine all of the ingredients except for the poppyseeds in a small blender or food processor (I used a Twister jar with my Blendtec). Blend and taste. Adjust to personal preference and then stir in the poppyseeds.
Toss however much dressing you want with the salad. Leftover dressing will stay good up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you aren't planning on eating this salad all in one sitting, do not toss all the ingredients together or toss with the dressing. If making it ahead of time, keep the lettuce separate, the dressing separate, and all the veggies/toppings separate. Toss all together right before enjoying.
The quantities of ingredients are a general guideline. Add more or less of your favorite salad fixings depending on your personal preference 🙂 TO ROAST BEETS: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the top of the beets to leave about 1 inch; do not trim the root. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place them on a sheet pan. (For extra flavorful beets: line the sheet pan with foil and top with 1-2 cups coarse kosher salt. Place the foil wrapped beets on top of this salt.) Roast them for 50-60 minutes (depending on their size) or until a small sharp knife can easily be inserted in the middle. Unwrap each beet and set aside to cool. Peel the skin off of the beets and then slice. (Tip: peel and slice the beets on parchment paper to prevent staining your cutting board. Use gloves to avoid staining your hands!)
More delicious seasonal salads:
- Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad
- Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad
- Easy Apple Pistachio Quinoa Salad
- Simple almond, cranberry, and apple quinoa salad