Roasted Beet & Egg Salad

A great tip for stretching food money is not to buy anything else until everything in the fridge is gone. That way you’re forced to make good use of everything, and doesn’t allow anything to just be ignored, go bad and get thrown out. This obviously should be understood within the two extremes- my friend Emilie sometimes refers to “the hunger days,” a time when a check bounced, her bank account was frozen, and she ate nothing but jam for a couple weeks. I am not talking that extreme.

But I’m currently in that weird in-between phase where I’m forced to put together ingredients I wouldn’t usually match up, in the hopes of still creating something delicious. Obviously this takes some practice and taste-cultivating, and I’ve tried out a trail of kitchen ‘experiments’ I’d like to forget about (e.g. is beer a legitimate substitute for baking soda when baking a cake?), but it’s a fun ride. Today’s experiment was clearing out the fridge into an egg salad that wouldn’t include mayonnaise (unnecessary fat in this case), but would still be totally awesome.

handful of lettuce
3 eggs, hard-boiled
5 baby beets, steamed
1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
2 cherry tomatoes, quartered
garlic powder
olive oil
salt and pepper
vinaigrette of choice

Preheat the oven to broil.

Half or quarter your baby beets (or big-sized beets, or whatever), and spread them out on a tinfoil-covered baking sheet. Follow suite with your chopped onion. Drizzle olive oil over top of the veggies, and then sprinkle them with garlic powder. S & P. Broil under cooked and beginning to crisp, from 5 to 7 minutes. Toss or flip and continue to broil for another minute or so.

I hate salads that are primarily lettuce. They are tricksters. They don’t fill you up unless you eat a truckload of it (which I hear is not the point), and so you end up loading the lettuce down with high-fat dressings or multiple mixes of of julienned veggies and carbs masquerading as appropriate toppings. The worst case scenario turns into what my dad refers to as “the trashcan salad” – the lunchtime phenomenon popular with the overweight where, out of some feeling of reluctant duty, they sit down to a trashcan-sized “salad” full of croutons, bacon bits and pasta bows, often don’t enjoy the experience, and then are confused afterwards as to why no weight loss occurs.

So, to be clear: the lettuce in this recipe is a feature, not a hero. Take out a bowl and use the handful of lettuce leaves to make a little nest. Fill this space first with a spoonful of roasted beets, and then add in some pieces of egg. I took out the yolks in mine before I quartered them, because I knew I was getting my necessary protein elsewhere today (PLUS, one egg with yolk? 70 calories. One egg white? Only 16). Fill up the bowl with the remainder of beets and hard-boiled egg. Sprinkle with the roasted onions. Top with cherry tomatoes.

Finish off this dish by drizzling it all with a bit of your favorite vinaigrette. OR just a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, straight from their bottles. This recipe makes for one good bowlful.

Meal Cost:
lettuce- $.45
eggs- $.50
Trader Joe’s baby beets- I think around $2?
onion- $.40
tomatoes- $.50
others- from pantry

Total Calories:
lettuce- 10
egg whites- 48
TJ’s baby beets- 100
onion- 24
tomatoes- 6
olive oil- 120
Cindy’s Kitchen Balsamic Vinaigrette (my choice)- 52.5

That’s a total of $3.85 and 360.5 calories! Score.


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