They say that today, the third Monday in January, is the most depressing day of the year.  But how can you be depressed when you see something like this?

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Have you heard of Whole30, or done it? ¬†I have not been brave enough (or masochistic enough) to do it yet, but I did get the cookbook for Christmas to get some recipe ideas. ¬†So many people I follow on Instagram are doing it this month that I have felt like I’m weird for¬†not¬†doing it.

But really, isn’t January hard enough already? ¬†Do we really need to add to our misery by removing all of the best foods from our diet – dairy, grains, sugar, and¬†alcohol? ¬†Alcohol is basically how we survive winter – that and short ribs. ¬†And pasta. ¬†And cake.

Now and then, however, I do like a bright and crisp winter salad. ¬†We can’t have carb blankets¬†for¬†every¬†meal from December through April, I suppose. ¬†So I was looking through the Whole30 book for something lighter, and when I came across an orange, beet, and avocado salad I knew I had to make it…not Whole30-compliant, of course. ¬†It’s pretty close though! ¬†All you’d do to make it right again is remove the goat cheese. ¬†But why would you want to do that?

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I used Cara Cara oranges in this salad. ¬†I got them for the first time this year and it’s safe to say I am obsessed. ¬†They’re pink-orange, like a cross between an orange and grapefruit, seedless (yay!), and SO juicy. ¬†I love eating oranges cold out of the fridge, and these are the best I’ve had. ¬†If you haven’t tried them yet, get yourself to the store while they are in season.

Here’s how I cut them for the salad:

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I find cutting the ends off of the orange before peeling makes it way easier since you have a flat surface to work with.

In addition to the oranges, we have roasted beets, which I love for their natural sweetness. ¬†Just be careful you don’t get beet juice on your shirt – it’s never coming out. ¬†I hadn’t roasted beets myself before until I tried this recipe, but it turns out they are super easy to do. ¬†Just poke all over with a fork, wrap in aluminum foil, throw them in the oven, and just over a half hour later you’re done. ¬†Peeling them afterwards is the hardest part!

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All right, now let’s assemble our players. ¬†Clockwise: your greens of choice (I used a baby arugula and kale blend from Trader Joe’s), some crumbled goat cheese, the orange slices, our vinaigrette made from the juice of the orange, beets, and diced avocado. ¬†Not pictured: diced cooked chicken (woops). ¬†This is salad perfection!

I am lazy sometimes and buy pre-grilled chicken at Trader Joe’s…they make my life so much better. ¬†I haven’t found a way that I like batch cooking chicken yet, so I’m ok with having them do it for me. ¬†It’s the little things.

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Put it all together, and you’re totally winning at the third Monday in January. ¬†If you have pre-roasted beets and pre-cooked chicken, this salad will literally take 5-10 minutes to throw together, which just gives you more time to drink wine and watch The Bachelor (no shame).

There is so much flavor in this salad! ¬†The orange is so juicy and bright, and when combined with the sweet/earthy beets, creamy avocado and goat cheese, and tang of vinegar, it’s just outrageously good. ¬†Please, do yourself a favor and try it. ¬†We all deserve better Januaries.

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20170116-cara cara orange beet salad 1 katiebirdbakes.com
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5 from 4 votes

Cara Cara Orange, Beet, & Avocado Salad with Chicken & Goat Cheese

A winter citrus salad with sweet beets, creamy avocado, and a tangy orange dressing.
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 2 people for main course, 4 for a side
Author: katiebirdbakes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beets
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cara cara oranges
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 an avocado, cubed
  • 1 cup cooked, cubed chicken breast
  • A few handfuls leafy greens (I used an arugula/baby kale blend)
  • Crumbled goat cheese, for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse the beets thoroughly and stab all sides with a fork. Place each on a square of aluminum foil, spread 1 tbsp of the oil between the two beets and turn them to coat evenly. Wrap the aluminum foil around each beet, pinching closed to seal. 
  • Roast for 35 minutes, then check for doneness by inserting a thin knife into the center of the beet. If it pierces easily, they are done; if not, roast for 10 more minutes and check again. Cool slightly, then remove the skin from the beets (I did this with a sharp knife and a fork so I wouldn't get beet juice all over my hands). Cube.
  • Meanwhile, put the greens in a large bowl and add the orange slices, chicken, and avocado.  Add the beets once cubed.
  • For the Dressing: in a small bowl, whisk the orange juice, zest, vinegar, salt and pepper together. Slowly stream in the remaining 1 tbsp oil while whisking constantly to emulsify.  
  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss everything together with two large spoons. Plate and add crumbled goat cheese on top if desired!

Notes

Adapted from the Whole30 book.

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Salad is delicious. But no where in the ingredients does it say anything about the juice. Or how much. ūü§Ē Maybe I overlooked it.

  2. 5 stars
    This is such a wonderful combination of flavors, colors, and textures! And thank you for providing a link to print the recipe.