If beet greens are unavailable, toss in raw watercress, spinach, or arugula leaves.
4 large beets
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 bunch beet greens
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 pound feta cheese (optional)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Wash beets. Remove greens but leave beet tops and roots intact. Place beets in a large pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until beets are tender (about an hour). Set aside to cool. Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Move the skillet back and forth over the heat with one hand, stirring the seeds with a wooden spoon in the other hand. This will toast the seeds evenly and prevent burning. Seeds are ready when they begin to pop and give off a nutty aroma. Remove seeds from skillet and set aside.
To prepare beet greens, fill a large skillet with water to a depth of 1 inch and heat to a simmer. Wash greens by submerging the bunch in a sink full of cold water. Shake off water and drop greens into simmering water. Let them cook for about 30 seconds, until tender and juicy. Place greens in a colander and gently run cold water over them to halt cooking.
Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Peel beets by cutting off the tops and slipping the skins off with your hands. Slice beets. Squeeze excess water out of the cooked beet greens and chop. Put beets, beet greens, pumpkin seeds, and scallions in a salad bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Crumble feta cheese on top. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 1 hour to cook beets, 15-20 minutes to assemble salad
Variation for Children: Cook the beets in apple juice instead of water, cut up, and serve plain.