I'm excited to share with you a recipe from one of Philadelphia's most popular vegan restaurants, Blackbird Pizzeria. I had the pleasure of visiting the restaurant with my friend Lora's vegetarian-friendly family several years ago after one of her art showings. The completely unassuming entrance led into a small pizza shop, filled with the most beautiful and delicious pizza offerings I had ever seen. Lora and her sister shared the patate pan pizza, topped with thinly sliced white potato, sweet onions, rosemary, and olive oil, while her brother (who is a super awesome vegan!) ordered the veggie supreme pizza and devoured it all in one sitting. Although I was told by the employees that due to cross contamination nothing could be verified as gluten-free, I really enjoyed just sitting there and sharing the amazing experience with Lora's family. It's honestly one of my favorite food memories and I didn't even eat anything.
Although it's a little weird to be sharing a salad recipe from one of the best vegan pizza places in the world, this is a really good salad. I'm not sure if it was available when we visited several years back, but if it was and I ate it, I'd have wanted the recipe. It is full of some of my favorite components, including roasted beets leeks, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Plus, the dressing is a delicious combination of shallots, thyme, other herbs, and spices. I hope you love it as much as I do.
4 tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 large red beet
1 large golden beet
1 large leak, green parts removed
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
1 large navel orange
2 c baby arugula
Shallot-Thyme Dressing (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut two square pieces of foil (each large enough to cover a beet completely). Please two tablespoons of kosher salt of each sheet of foil. Place the red beet on one foil square and the golden beet on the other and wrap them completely. Bake until the beets are very soft and easily pierced with a knife, about an hour or longer. Allow to cool completely, then unwrap and peel the beets. Roughly dice the beets into six pieces, 3/4" thick. Refrigerate before using in the salad.
Clean the leek by slicing it vertically down the middle and running it under cool water to remove any dirt from the inside. Cut the leek into thin slices and place in a mixing bowl. Toss the sliced leeks, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the leeks begin to brown. Allow to cool completely before using in the salad.
Keeping the oven heated to 350 degrees, place the raw pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and bake until deeply toasted but not burned (approximately 10 minutes).
To assemble: Using a sharp knife, cut all the peel off the orange. Carefully cut out segments of orange, slicing on either side of each segment to extract just the flesh of the orange. Place the baby arugula, orange segments, roasted leeks, and dressing in a mixing bowl. Toss in the bowl until the salad is fully dressed. Place the contents of the bowl into the middle of a large plate. Arrange the roasted beets around the salad, and top it off with the toasted pumpkin seeds.
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 large shallot, chopped
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1/8 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp agave syrup
1/2 c olive oil
2 tbsp fresh thyme
In a blender, add all the ingredients except the olive oil and thyme and blend them at high speed. While blending, slowly add in the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the thyme leaves and pulse in the blender so that the thyme is dispersed and the dressing has green flecks throughout. One the oil is incorporated and the dressing is emulsified, it's ready to serve.
Disclaimer: I was given this product to review, but all of the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own.