BY CHRISTY RIMKUS

Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Awareness Month land in February, and this recipe covers all the bases. Beets are known for helping our hearts beat stronger, so this Valentine’s Day, mix it up with a vegetarian feast sure to impress the special someones in your life. The beeting heart salad is as tasty as it is punny. Accented with champagne vinaigrette, it is the perfect gift for your loved ones.

Roasted Beets

4 large round beets

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 teaspoon course sea salt

Champagne Vinaigrette

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup grape seed oil

1 cup sliced shallots

3 tbsp champagne vinegar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp light brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Whipped Goat Cheese

1/4 cup fresh goat cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp heavy cream

1/2 tsp rice vinegar

1/2 coarse ground black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Salad

Mixed Greens

1/4 cup crushed pistachios

Heat the oven to 400.  If the beets still have their leafy tops cut them off leaving about an inch of the stem.  Scrub them well under cold water (do not dry) and wrap each of them loosely in aluminum foil.  Place the wrapped beets on a rimmed baking sheet.  Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven.  Beets are done when a fork slides easily to the center.  Set the beets aside until cool enough to handle.

While waiting for the beets to cool make the dressing and whip the goat cheese.  Heat a pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the shallots until translucent about 3 minutes. Put the shallots in blender with the remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust with salt.

In a bowl, whisk all the whipped goat cheese ingredients until smooth. Place in refrigerator.

Slice the cooled beets into 1/2 inch slices.  If you have a heart shaped metal cookie cutter press into each slice.  If not, cut slices in half.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Place beets on a bed of your favorite greens.  Drizzle with dressing and pipe whipped goat cheese onto salad center. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios and Enjoy!

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