We've been talking a lot about the beach in Lemon-land these days, and how we've pretty much been beach-less this summer. With August flitting by, a seaside visit was mandatory. And so last week, we hopped the LIRR and a ferry for a day trip to Watch Hill, which is, by far, one of the most beautiful beaches near NYC.
Normally, I find a day at the beach the perfect excuse to break out salty treats, sweet drinks and a big old hoagie (yes, my early beach memories are from the Jersey Shore.) But we've been trying to eat a bit heathier so some sea-side salads were called for and of course I had some CSA veggies to inspire me.
What we needed were salads that can be made ahead, don't require too much refrigeration (no mayo) and will leave us feeling sated. I turned to an old favorite, Orzo with Pesto, Artichokes and Tomatoes which makes ahead beautifully. And then I found a new salad friend:
Beet and Bean Salad
3-4 medium red beets
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed
2 small scallions, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and Pepper
Parlsey to garnish
Heat the oven to 375F. Trim off tops of the beets and wash. Then wrap them individually in tin foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Take out the beets when they are tender and a knife goes into them easily. Set aside to cool and use that same baking sheet for the green beans. Push the oven temp up to 400F, place the beans on the baking sheet (tin foil works here, too), and add some olive oil and roast for 10 minutes.
To peel the red beets, use paper towels to rub off the skin. It really does come off easily, but your fingers will get a touch red. Slice the beets into bite-size pieces. Do the same for the beans and add them in a bowl along with the scallions.
In a small bowl mix together the mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Dress the beets and bean mixture and chill. Before packing this up for the picnic, add the parsley.
Orzo with Pesto, Artichokes and Tomatoes
So easy, this dish doesn't need a full recipe and is entirely forgiving, so add away.
[In a food processor: 10-12 basil leaves + 2 cloves garlic + 3 Tablespoons olive oil] + 1/2 cup orzo pasta (cooked and drained) + 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar + sliced tomatoes + 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
A few ziplocs full of salad, some cherries and grapes...and yeah, I broke down and bought a bag of chips. It was a beachy good time.
A heathy picnic for us daytrippers
This was a no-shop, pantry-inspired meal = thrifty
Feeling light, but full in our bathing suits. No bloat for these beach bunnies!