I haven’t posted a big ol’ salad for a while and for a while I’ve been intrigued by this Cubby’s Beet & Goat Cheese Salad. As stated on Cubby’s website, the salad is a mix of Spring Greens, Roasted Red Beets, Toasted Pistachios, Goat Cheese, Avocado, Orange Slices, Orange Zest, and Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette.
For one thing, I’m just nuts about roasted beets and love a citrus and goat cheese combo. I have a couple of salads already that have beets and goat cheese; there’s this Arugula, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad, with a Balsamic Vinaigrette. Then there’s my Beet Goes On Salad (sorry about THAT name!) with an out of this world Honey Citrus Vinaigrette. But I really got it in my head that I wanted to try my hand at a version of this salad with that Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette.
About Cubby’s Beet & Goat Cheese Salad:
I couldn’t get over thinking about this lovely salad and what I imagined to be a robust Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette drizzled atop, adding such flavor and freshness. It seemed like it would be just the perfect thing for a cold January day; a bit of sunshine. And maybe just a bit different than most salads I’ve had. It’s quite a mix-up.
I haven’t ever actually had this salad at Cubby’s, but that wasn’t going to stop me from using that description for inspiration. And of course, since I love mixing up my own Salad Dressings, I just knew the Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette had enough flavor to stand up to a Spring Salad Mix. It has enough acidity enough to offset the sweet Mandarin oranges and cut through the buttery richness of the avocado in that salad, while the peppery component accents those beets.
Unfortunately, when I went to the store, the Spring Salad Mix was crazy pricey and just didn’t look good at all! So in went half a head of Romaine. I wanted to roast my own beets, too, but they were going to be about five dollars for two! I got a can. I’ll tell you more about that, later. And I had planned on using actual oranges in the salad, but didn’t realize until I zested my orange and then ate it on the spot (the smell of zested orange is intoxicating!) that I didn’t have another orange for the salad, so in went the can of Mandarins. But that goes to show, you’re never set in stone in following exactly, a recipe and it was still delish!
Making Cubby’s Beet & Goat Cheese Salad:
Let’s talk about these Beets. See, beets and I had a rough start. As a child, we always had canned beets on a regular basis as a part of our hot lunches at school, and they just left me cold. It wasn’t until I was an adult that beets started to rock my world, and that was because I learned how to both pickle (Here are my Grandma’s simple one jar Refrigerator Pickled Beets) and roast beets. The directions for roasting are in the recipe, below.
I bought a can of beets for 69 cents, and they were just as awful as I remembered from childhood, mushy and bland. I had a brainstorm & I drained my canned beets, patted them kind of dry as best I could, laid them on foil on top of a sheet tray, tossed them in my Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette. In to the oven they went at 400 degrees F. for about 10 minutes, then I turned them and roasted a few more minutes. Just watch them carefully because ovens and timing can vary. They shrunk just a bit and the flavor and texture was much improved. They were delish!
Toss your avocado, too, in just a little of the vinaigrette so it doesn’t turn brown; there’s enough acid and citrus to keep them beautiful and green.
Saving Money on Cubby’s Beet & Goat Cheese Salad:
Salads like Cubby’s Beet & Goat Cheese Salad are so versatile; let what looks good and what has a great price be your guide to what you put in it.
Mixes, like the Spring Green Mixes are so good and have so much variety, it is hard to recreate at home without buying all the lettuces in it. Ounce for ounce, they’re about 4 to 10 times as much as loose lettuce, too. We do have a few stores with open bins where you can mix and match your own, but honestly, good old Romaine (and it isn’t the only green that has issues with recalls) is a budget standby. Rinse, rinse, rinse under cold running water and keep it cold! It’s not enough to swish or use a salad spinner and you never want to drop anything in a sink of water. Sinks are the worse offenders as far as cleanliness.
Watch for avocados on sale; if the price is great and they look awful, ask when the next shipment is coming in. Pick them up at a variety of hardness and you’ll have avocados for a week or two. Fresh oranges are so much more inexpensive than Mandarins in a can, so shop well for them, especially from January through April when so many varieties are in season and available at a low.
Pistachios can be pricey! Know your nuts, shop for them over the winter holidays and freeze them where they’ll stay fresh for months. Honestly, I prefer to buy pistachios in the shell – it slows me down if I feel like snacking on them. A salad like this is a great place to sub in the more affordable almonds.
Goat cheese can be crazy expensive, too. Check the producer’s website, watch for hang tags and specials. Aldi now has goat cheese that is pretty decent, Costco usually has a great price but the packages are larger so you’ll need to go on a goat cheese spree (something I don’t mind) and if budget isn’t an issue, go wild. Or sub in anything you like, maybe Feta. I know not everyone is a fan of goat cheese…
Cubby's Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
- 6 to 8 ounces mixed greens lettuce or appropriate substitute
- 1 large avocado, cut in chunks, tossed in the Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup toasted pistachios (just toast in a dry skillet until fragrant, watching carefully)
- 1 or two oranges, supremed or a can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges, well drained
- 2 to 3 beets, roasted see below, or a can of small beets (see text under Making Beet & Goat Cheese Salad for further instructions)
- Crumbled goat cheese
- a partial amount of Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette
Add well-washed Salad greens to a large bowl. Top with avocado, beets, oranges, and pistachios. Drizzle with dressing and toss before serving.
To roast beets, wash, remove greens but leave root end intact. Place on a sheet of foil and wrap well, closing at the top. Place on a pan and roast in a 350 degree F. oven for about an hour. Open package carefully, let cool. Slip off skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.
I’ll be sharing my Cubby’s Beet & Goat Cheese Salad at Fiesta Friday #260, hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and by Moi! Stop by and visit and see what this special link party is all about.