Beet, Red Onion and Endive Salad for a Meat Free Monday

I love going to my local bookstore. I try to spend an hour each week browsing through the various sections, seeking out what’s new and finding a treasure to bring home, I particularly love the food and wine section where I can see the latest cookbooks.

Last week I was wandering through aisles when I stumbled upon The Meat Free Monday Cookbook. I am ashamed to admit that I did not know much about this campaign until I started to read the book. Meat Free Monday is a program that was started by Paul McCartney and his family to create awareness about the environmental impact of the meat industry. Their theory is that if we all stopped eating meat for one day each week we could save money, eat healthier and have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production.

The book provides 52 weeks of menus that include a breakfast, a packed lunch, a dinner, a side or a dessert recipe. Each of the weeks are segregated by the four seasons. contributors to the book include celebrity and chef supporters like Mario Batali, Yotam Ottolenghi, Kevin Spacy, Twiggy, Woody Harrelson,  and others.

I know many of you already skip meat once a week and many are vegetarians. I had already decided to cut down on my meat consumption as part of my commitment to a healthier lifestyle. I am not ready to give it up completely; at least not yet, but this book has certainly made me think harder about the idea.

That said, I am still constantly looking for great recipes and this book is a wonderful source. The recipes look so fresh and inviting and the photographs by Tara Fisher are beautiful.

This Beet, Red Onion and Endive salad is one of the most delicious salads I have ever had. I made it as a starter course for dinner last week and we ended up having second helpings before moving on to the main course because it was so good. It would make a great dinner or lunch entre.

Beet, Red Onion and Endive Salad

Ingredients

5 golf ball-size beets, trimmed of stalks and leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 cup pecans
2 tablespoons clear honey
2 red onions, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled
2 ripe pears, quartered, cored and sliced
2 heads of endive trimmed into separate leaves
1 large handful of arugula
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

FOR THE DRESSING

5 tbsp. walnut oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place a large piece of foil in a small roasting pan, put the beets in the middle, season and drizzle with half of the olive oil and the red wine vinegar. Wrap the foil over the beets and seal tightly, Roast the beets for 1 hour or until tender when tasted with the point of a sharp knife. Remove from the roasting pan, unwrap and cool.

Put the pecans in the roasting pan and drizzle with the honey. Stir to coat then roast for about 10 minutes until sticky and glazed. Remove from the roasting pan and cool the nuts on a plate.

Put the onions on a baking sheet, add garlic cloves, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and roast for about 30 minutes until tender and starting to caramelize.

To make the dressing, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and gently whisk until just combined. Peel the beets and cut into wedges. In a large bowl, layer the beets, onion, pears, endive, arugula, crumbled feta, and honey coated nuts. Generously drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

Recipe from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook contributed by Stella McCartney