Roasted Beets Fennel Salad from Wild About Greens cookbook giveaway

Roasted Beets & Fennel Salad with Beet Greens & Oranges from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas

I am excited to give away a copy of  Wild About Greens by vegan author and illustrator Nava Atlas. I was fortunate to connect with Nava through the Cookies for Cody online bake sale. She was delightful and so is this book. SWEEPSTAKES IS NOW CLOSED.

This would be a terrific book for someone who wants to eat more leafy greens, and especially if you are a member of a CSA and are constantly getting greens and don’t know what to do with them. I’m excited to be giving away one copy PLUS a gift basket of fresh greens from my friends at Cut `n Clean Greens. (Greens will arrive after the book so you have time to look at recipes.)
Greens giveaway plus Wild About Greens Cookbook from Recipe RenovatorCut `n Clean Greens will provide a generous assortment of farm-fresh, grower-direct organic greens varieties, shipped overnight from their plant in Oxnard, California with cold packs. Winner will receive organic greens, type will vary based on availability the day of shipping.

What I liked about the book: Nicely organized, with an opening chapter of basic prep and an encyclopedic primer on leafy greens. Every recipe has one of Nava’s lovely hand-drawn illustrations; there are only eight color photos in the center of the book. Lots of gluten-free recipes and a few raw options in the Green Juices & Smoothies chapter. After testing four recipes (and one so far from another of her books) I feel confident that her recipes will work and be extremely tasty.

I wasn’t so keen on: I think this book assumes a pretty high level of knowledge about cooking techniques, and some of the recipes are somewhat light on instruction for a beginner. For example, in the recipe below, the instructions are to “steam the greens in a skillet,” but don’t explain that you have to add water to create the steam (the assumption is the reader would have read the opening prep chapter in advance). It also suggested you chop the greens before washing them, which isn’t the logical order for me. In addition, there wasn’t much information on recipe prep time. The Curried Sweet Potatoes recipe I tried took more than 45 minutes to prepare, which would have been helpful to know. I always like it when cookbooks have color photos for all or most of the recipes, although I know that adds to the cost.

I have tested four recipes from the book. I tried the Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas & Mustard Greens, which was contributed by Susan Voisin, food photographer for the book and the blogger behind Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen. I liked this recipe, although if I were to make it again I would add more tamari and agave syrup and cook the greens in the sauce to reduce their bitterness.

I also tried Curried Sweet Potatoes with Chard & Chickpeas, which was outright delicious, richly colored, and made a hearty dinner served over brown rice. It is Husband Tested and Approved! It also was fine with absolutely no salt or pepper, so would be great for low-sodium diets. I put the Swiss chard stems in with the potatoes, and I liked that they were a little more cooked than they would have been had I followed the directions perfectly. I also would have put the raisins in earlier so they would plump up a bit.

Her Quinoa with Kale, Sweet Potatoes, & Pecans was an unusual and hearty dish. I chopped the kale in the food processor, so the dish ended up with the consistency of hash with chunks of sweet potatoes interspersed. The pecans added that nice bit of crunch and texture that I would have missed otherwise.

The beet salad (pictured above) was so yummy I asked Nava for permission to share it. I made it with a combination of olive and walnut oils. I made supremes with the oranges, as I couldn’t find clementines, so I could have skipped the lemon juice. It would be great topped with toasted walnuts.

Here’s this week’s question:
Which leafy green have you always thought you should try but never had the nerve to buy?

Roasted Beets and Fennel Salad with Beet Greens and Oranges
Reprinted with permission from Wild About Greens © 2012 by Nava Atlas, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
6 to 8 servings

1 large bunch beets, consisting of 4 to 5 good-sized beets with a good quantity of greens
1 medium fennel bulb, stemmed, trimmed of stalks, and thinly sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil or fragrant nut oil*
3 small seedless oranges, sectioned
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (about a large handful)
Juice of 1 lemon, or more, to taste
2 teaspoons (10-15 ml) agave nectar, or more, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/gas mark 6.5 .

Cut the greens away from the beets. Chop coarsely, rinse well, and set aside. [I washed them thoroughly, then steamed them whole, finely chopping them after they were cool.]

To minimize the mess of cutting raw beets, peel over the trash or compost container, and slice them on a cutting board covered with wax paper. Place the sliced raw beets in a foil-lined baking dish and combine with the sliced fennel, onion, and garlic. Drizzle with enough oil to coat, reserving the rest. [I used olive oil for this step.]

Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender to your liking. Stir once or twice during that time. [I stirred every 10 minutes and baked them for 40.]

Meanwhile, place the beet greens in a medium skillet; steam until bright green and just tender. Place in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop fairly fine. [This is where they could have used more explanation. I put the greens in a steamer basket with water in a saucepan and steamed them, covered, for about 10 minutes. I let them cool completely, then squeezed dry and chopped them up.]

Combine the roasted vegetables in a mixing bowl with the remaining oil as well as all the remaining ingredients and toss together. Serve warm or at room temperature. [I whisked the walnut oil, lemon juice, agave syrup, and salt, and pepper together before pouring over.]

Sweepstakes Official Rules:

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  • Duration: Friday October 19 through Thursday October 26, 2012 at 5 PM Pacific Daylight Time.
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  • Prize description: One copy of Wild About Greens plus one box of fresh organic greens, retail value of $64.95.

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