When I was in fifth or sixth grade, my father, an electrical engineer, taught me how to use a slide rule. At about the same time, my mother, a magazine editor, taught me a rule that's proved much more valuable: never try to match reds. When I made this tomato, beet and basil salad, I heard her voice in my head, telling me that a red vegetable and a purplish-red one shouldn't be on a plate together. Mother's guideline, effective as it's been for fashion, doesn't hold for salad; beets and tomatoes are a match made in color heaven, and in taste heaven, too. So, go ahead and break the rule. Do it now, because tomatoes, basil and beets might all turn up in your CSA box or at your local farmers' market this week. And, if they don't, check the produce section of your supermarket. Mine carries pre-cooked beets (not canned), which are a great convenience when fresh beets are unavailable.
Tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Serves 2; can be doubled.
For the dressing:
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tsp agave nectar
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
For the salad:
2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
2-3 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters
2-3 beets, any type, cooked, peeled, cut into quarters
4-5 large basil leaves, julienned
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all ingredients for the dressing, and shake vigorously to incorporate.
Arrange all of the salad ingredients on a platter, and drizzle with as much of the dressing as you need. (Extra dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.) Serve at room temperature.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Honey-roasted beets with orange and thyme
Spinach salad with glazed beets and blue cheese
Beet and fennel salad
Tomato, basil and mozzarella salad with basil vinaigrette
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Grilled vegetable panini, from Panini Happy
Mixed greens, spiced pecans and goat cheese with dark chocolate balsamic vinaigrette, from Poor Girl Eats Well
Spring greens salad with asparagus, snow peas, radishes, and honey Dijon vinaigrette, from Andrea Meyers
Grilled radicchio salad with gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette, from Leite's Culinaria
Potato salad with herbed balsamic vinaigrette, from Brown Eyed Baker
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