Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

Tommy celebrated a birthday this past Saturday – the big 29! Because we were going to be in Cape Cod on his actual birthday, I wanted to make him a special dinner prior to our departure.

The appetizer portion of our dinner featured one of Tommy’s favorite foods – beets. The guy just can’t get enough of the variety of colors and sizes available at the farmers’ market. As such, I have been making lots of beet salads this summer.

My favorite beet salad preparation involves using creamy goat cheese, crunchy hazelnuts (sometimes called filbert nuts at the grocery store) and fresh basil. I then drizzle everything with a homemade balsamic mustard vinaigrette.

Now don’t be intimidated by the “homemade” vinaigrette. It is literally the easiest dressing one could possibly make as it involves olive oil, balsamic, dijon mustard and salt and pepper shaken up in a mason jar. And it is so good, you would never even consider using the bottled stuff again.

For Tommy’s birthday, I also added some farm fresh arugula to the mix because the peppery lettuce really makes everything better.

If you are concerned that your family and friends might not love beets that much, I would suggest buying light colored ones. The lighter the beet, the more mild the flavor (think white, yellow or light red. The deep purple ones definitely have the strongest flavor). I have served this salad to self proclaimed non-beet lovers and have gotten rave reviews! So I really encourage you to try this yourself, even if you aren’t sure about this sweet root veggie.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts, Basil and Arugula

Serves 4 as an Appetizer


  • 4 medium sized beets, any color, sliced
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup balsamic
  • 2 TB dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • S+P


To cook the beets, place them in a large sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Once at a boil, add a small handful of salt, cover and cook on low heat for 30-45 minutes (depending on size of the beets) until they are fork tender. Drain, cool, and peel the beets.

To make the dressing, add the olive oil, balsamic, mustard and salt and pepper to a small jar and shake vigorously to combine. You can also whisk everything in a bowl, but I find the jar method to be more fun!

To toast the hazelnuts, add them to a dry sauté pan and cook on medium high heat until they are slightly toasted (make sure not to burn!). Allow to cool slightly and then peel. Hazelnuts have a very thin skin on them that comes off easily once they are toasted. Carefully give them a medium chop.

Once the beets have cooled, slice them into 1/3 inch slices. For a nice presentation, I like to overlap different colors of beets on top of each other. If serving on individual salad plates, it looks nice to arrange them in a circle. If serving on one large platter, I arrange the overlapping beets up in long straight lines.

Season the beets with salt and pepper and drizzle with the enough dressing so that there is a bit on each bite. Top with the chopped hazelnuts, crumbled goat cheese and fresh chopped basil.

In a separate bowl, mix the arugula with enough dressing to coat, but not over dress! Toss together and then add on top of the beets.

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Strawberry Smoothie

Brazil nuts are my favorite nut, and strawberries are my favorite fruit. Brazil nuts make a really tasty milk, kind of like almond milk. Add strawberries, with their amazing flavor and color, and you have a delicious and unique smoothie.

I only started using brazil nut recently, after learning that they are grown in the rainforests of Brazil. I care a lot about the rainforests, and I now believe that we can conserve them by buying brazil nuts. The brazil nut trees grow wild, in the rainforest. Buying them means that the forests are more valuable if they are left standing than if they are cut down.

Brazil Nut Milk

Brazil Nut MilkMaking brazil nut milk is very easy. All you have to do is soak the nuts for at least 2 hours. This will remove the phytic acid that many nuts have. Then, blend them with 3 cups of water. Add a teaspoon of vanilla, or a vanilla bean, if you like vanilla flavor. And that’s it!

Some people strain their nut milk through a cheesecloth, to get all the pulp out, but I don’t bother. It takes time, and it only takes away from the overall nutritional value of the milk. But if you don’t want any bits in your smoothie, you can strain it.


My favorite strawberries are fresh from the garden or local farmer’s market. But most of the time, I settle for frozen strawberries.

Frozen strawberries are nice, actually, because they can take the place of ice in a smoothie. They will make your smoothie cool, without diluting it or making it super cold. Half a cup to one cup of frozen strawberries are the perfect amount for this purpose.

Strawberry Smoothie Recipes with Brazil Nut Milk

Here are a few recipes that are really good. They are all fairly simple and easy to make. I think you will like the combination of brazil nut milk and strawberries.

Rainforest Strawberry Kiwi

  • 1 cup brazil nut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Tropical Strawberry Ginger Smoothie

  • 1 cup brazil nut milk
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • half cup pineapple pieces
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • Rainforest Strawberry Mango Smoothie
  • 1 cup brazil nut milk
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • half a mango

Brazilian Strawberry Acai Smoothie

  • 1 cup brazil nut milk
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • half cup acai juice or acai puree
  • Rainforest Avocado Smoothie
  • 1.5 cups brazil nut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • half an avocado
  • half cup baby spinach

These recipes all make one large smoohie, or two small smoothies. If you want you smoothies to be a little thinner, then just add an extra half cup of brazil nut milk. If you like them sweeter, add a pinch of stevia powder, or an extra half a banana. As for the strawberries, feel free to use either fresh or frozen strawberries in these recipes. They both work well.

The acai smoothie is really nice. I like acai juice. I recommend the Sambazon brand, because they offer organic and fair trade varieties, and their care about the people producing the acai. Acai juice is the easiest to use, but you can also use frozen acai puree.

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