Beyond its physical beauty, this salad offers interesting textural and flavor combinations.

A perfect addition to a Valentine dinner, it is also special enough to make a festive first course for any celebratory meal. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Valentine Salad

Makes 4 servings

Canola oil spray
4 medium beets
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon pomegranate concentrate or juice, divided
1 cup dried cherries
1 bag mixed salad greens, preferably including red cabbage
1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Segments of 2 pink grapefruits, with pith and seeds removed
1/4 cup tangerine juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon raspberry or balsamic vinegar
Pinch of sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray bottom of a baking pan with canola oil spray. Add beets and lightly coat with the spray. Add 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup pomegranate concentrate. Cover pan with foil; roast beets until knife easily pierces center, about 50 minutes. Remove beets from pan and cool. Peel beets wearing rubber or plastic gloves to protect hands. Slice beets thinly. (Beets can be cooked, peeled in advance, stored and refrigerated until ready to serve.)

At serving time, soak cherries in hot water to cover. Drain when soft and set aside. Meanwhile, divide mixed greens among four salad plates so pieces of red cabbage are visible on top. Sprinkle onions on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

On top of the greens, alternate grapefruit segments with beets in a pinwheel or daisy design. Sprinkle beets with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cherries over salad.

In a cup, mix together the tangerine juice, remaining fruit concentrate, oil and vinegar. Add sugar if mixture is too tart. Drizzle dressing over each salad and serve.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research

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