On the 3rd week of my new volunteering gig*, nearly penniless and living with my cat, I bought a box of $3 mesclun greens that I planned to make my lunch for an entire week. But you know me. I’m such a fancy pants I have to jazz up the salad somehow, and with my new beet obsession, it was a no brainer – I bought a bunch of gnarly, dirt covered beets that I planned on transforming, via oven, into beautiful dark cubed up rubies of deliciousness, just like the Jean-Georges creation at ABC Kitchen.

Luckily, a bipolar Mother Nature tossed a couple of cool nights my way, and on one of those nights, I heated up the oven, scrubbed the beets, tossed them in, and prayed for a miracle. An hour and a half later, looking like I had just bludgeoned my furry roommate, my hands stained red, I gathered the chunks of beets into a container and left it in the fridge.

The next morning, I assembled some greens on the bottom of an old chinese food container. Remembering that I had a can of artichokes living in my cupboard for the past year and a half, and feeling like I’d hit the jackpot, I sliced up the artichokes and added a couple to the salad, topping it all off with a nice layer of beets. A mix of balsamic and oil went into an old mini pinot grigio bottle, and quite pleased with myself, I brought it all to work. 

By the end of the day, my stomach had started to grumble, and following Pat’s example, I snuck a couple of slices of serrano and a lot of grapes from off the plates we prepared for a presentation, into my mouth.

I brought the same salad again to work today, making sure to salt and pepper the greens before the artichokes and beets went in. Noticing that some of the chorizo and sopressata were leftover in the work fridge, I quickly stuffed a few into the salad, and also sliced up the leftover presentation strawberries and quickly ran upstairs to my desk.

I think I just had the best salad of my life. All for the added price of zero dollars.

*I’ve yet to receive my 1st paycheck. Generous donations (in the forms of cash, food, or drink) accepted, please email.

 Roasted Beets

  • a bunch of beets, about 4
  • foil

Scrub the beets, trim the ends, and wrap in foil. Roast in oven at 425 degrees for 1-1/2 hrs.