I always like the idea of the Holidays…family laughing together around a thoughtfully cooked meal, taking time out from every day chaos to just enjoy each other’s company. As I write these words, I too am getting sucked into the beautiful picturesque scene; however this daydream (especially as a host) is not without challenges and the very chaos we aim to escape. What will I make? How will I coordinate the stove and timing so it is finished together? Will I even have time to happily mingle with guests if I am playing Chef Ramsey in the kitchen? (I am hearing him in my head yelling, “Plate it!”)
This is where the magic of a make ahead dish comes in. As a host, anything we can do in advance of the party works to maintain our sanity and please guests. So here is an idea for you to make ahead of time so that you too can enjoy your holiday get together!
Beet, Cranberry, & Almond Salad with a Champagne Yogurt Vinaigrette
This dish is as colorful as it is delicious. It is also low maintenance and super easy. Win for the Host! Most everything can be done in advance, although I will share with you my personal preferences for day of dressing. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
Begin by bringing 2 pots of water to a boil. As the water gets up to temperature, wash off your beets. I also chop off the ends as there is a lot of dirt that gets stuck in those root crevices. Once boiling, add your prepared beets to the water (golden in one pot and red in another). Tip: Red beets bleed their color easily. If you want to maintain the distinct colors in your dish, boil the red beets separately from the golden beets.
Allow them to cook until they are tender. It is hard to provide you an exact time as it all depends on the size of the beet, but continue to fork test your beets and they should complete in around 30-45 minutes.
While the beets are cooking you have 2 options. If you are making this the day of the event, I would begin making the dressing and finding a pretty bowl to put your creation in. If you are making this a day or more in advance, I would gather your containers for the refrigerator to put away your prepared beets.
After the beets are done cooking, allow them to cool out of the water for a few minutes. While they are still warm, begin running your fingers along the skin to peel it off. I also thinly reslice the ends to bring out the bright color on all sides of the beet. Then begin chopping them to even size.
If you are storing them overnight. Put the golden beets in one container and the red in another and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble (again separate to maintain color).
When you are ready to go, grab your serving bowl and add your containers full of beets, 1 cup of dried cranberries, and ½ cup of sliced almonds. You can play with this amount based on your own tastes. Stir gently. Chop up a handful of Italian parsley leaves and sprinkle on top of your salad. This green looks amazing on the gorgeous red and yellow backdrop!
It’s time for a little dressing. Now I have made this vinaigrette in advance but don’t love the consistency the next day, so I recommend throwing this together quickly as you assemble your dish.
The dressing looks beyond cute in a small mason jar. Add 1 teaspoon of champagne vinegar, 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 ½ tablespoons of plain Stonyfield® Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey and salt and pepper to taste to the jar. Grab a whisk and work the mixture through until it is combined and consistent. Then slowly add ¼ cup of olive oil while continuing to whisk. Close the top of your jar and give the mixture a shake.
Lightly drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad. Put the mason jar out on the table so everyone can add more to taste.
And you’re done…Not too stressful, right? With recipe tricks like this you’ll be on your way to smoothly hosting every holiday!