A colourful, flavourful meal-in-a-bowl!
I love salads packed with lots of colours, textures and flavours and this one certainly fits the bill. An air fryer is fast and efficient to roast the beets and pears but you can certainly roast them in the oven or even sauté them in a skillet. All the components can be prepared ahead of time but the salad should be assembled right before serving so the spinach stays crisp. If you’re a fan of spinach salads (I sure am), you might also like my healthier spinach and strawberry salad or my spinach salad with blueberry vinaigrette.
For the salad:
- 4 medium beets
- 5 teaspoons (25 mL) of olive oil, divided
- Few pinches of salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 2 ripe pears (I used Bartlett)
- 6 cups (180 g) chopped fresh spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup (37 g) hopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup (70 g) crumbled chèvre or feta (optional but delicious)
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil
- Preheat air fryer to 375F.
- If using oven, preheat to 400F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Peel beets and cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) pieces. Place in a medium bowl and drizzle with 3 teaspoons of the olive oil. Toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Transfer beets to the basket of the air fryer and set the timer to 12 minutes.
- For oven, transfer to prepared baking tray; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper then place in oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
- While beets begin roasting, core and peel the pears. Cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) pieces and place in the bowl you used for the beets. Add remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss to coat evenly. After the beets have roasted for the first amount of time, toss them gently then add the pears to the air fryer or the baking tray. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Don’t clean the bowl the beets and pears were in.
- While pears and beets finish roasting, prepare the vinaigrette by placing the balsamic, maple syrup, Dijon, salt and pepper in a small jar with a tight lid. Cover and shake to blend well. Add olive oil and shake again; set aside. Dressing can be made up to 1 week ahead.
- Test roasted beets for doneness with the tip of a sharp knife. They should be tender but not mushy. Add a few minutes of extra time if needed; no need to test pears. When done, remove pan from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- While beets and pears are cooling, coarsely chop spinach and place in a serving bowl. Shake dressing to re-combine and drizzle 2 tablespoons over spinach leaves. Toss and add a bit more dressing if needed to coat leaves evenly.
- Transfer cooled beets and pears to the bowl you used previously and drizzle another tablespoon of the dressing over them. Add to the spinach and toss gently to combine. Top with toasted walnuts and serve.