Vinegar is a must-have ingredient for intriguing salad dressings, and this week’s recipe is no exception.

The extended vinegar family includes favorites like apple cider, balsamic, rice, wine and white distilled vinegars. Each variety offers its own distinct flavor and appeal.

All of the ingredients in this recipe should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Spinach and Baby Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Plum Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese

Serves 4

  • 1 bunch baby beets
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 lb. baby spinach
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, sliced and caramelized
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 to 5 dried plums, snipped
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients with whisk; set aside.
  2. Rinse and scrub baby beets. Trim each end; place in small saucepan with water to cover. Add white vinegar. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
  3. Place spinach in large bowl with onions and mint. Cut beets into quarters and add to salad. Top with goat cheese and hazelnuts. Drizzle salad with desired amount of vinaigrette; toss and serve immediately.

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Vinegar Institute