Avocado, beet, & goat cheese panini

"Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn."

- Lewis Grizzard

Happy first day of Spring and my first post on NiaTritiion! I was planning on posting a few recipes before launching my blog but this is my journey shared with you, so we might as well start together! It's Friday, it has been a long week, and well I woke up this morning craving something savory and warm! What better than an avocado, beet, & goat cheese panini!?

 

It being the first day of Spring chomping down on some seasonal produce is a must. In this panini I used the hass avocado, traditional red beets, sprouted grain toast, arugula, olive oil, goat cheese, za'atar spice, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar

Months of maturity for the hass avocado range approximately from April to October, give or take the climate effects. Avocados are extremely nutritious, a source of many essential minerals including potassium, thiamin, iron, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, and manganese and also a great source of those good fats and omega-3 fatty acids which are necessary for human health. How lucky are we to have such a diverse and delicious fruit that is completely nutrient dense.

 

When I was little I never was a fan of those slimy red slices my family always tried to put in my greek salads but today if I could I would eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...it is funny how life works. Beets are a great source of antioxidants and have many detoxification benefits. They are an acquired taste and can taste a bit "earthy" but just give them a try your body will thank ya! I usually chop mine and pair with salt, pepper, & balsamic vinegar, super simple and a great snack. Add that to a salad with some nuts and fruit and you got a party in a bowl. Be careful though, half of my closet is stained pink due to my love for beets. Wash your beet root and leaves throughly with cool water, the leaves can be stored up to about 5 days (refrigerator) give or take but the beet root can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1-2 weeks before cooked. 

Arugula, arugula, arugula ... I don't know why but I always have to say it back to back to back, I think its fun. I love this leafy plant, it has a peppery flavor which makes it a great add to pizza's, salads, and sandwiches! Plus it's shape is just so beautiful that it is perfect to use as a garnish as well. Arugula is a less recognized cruciferous vegetable that provides many of the same benefits as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts and has a good amount of vitamin A, C, K, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Wash your arugula under cool water and pat dry, it is a delicate leaf. 

The goat cheese was added for that savory taste I was craving this morning but if you are vegan this panini is just as good with out the goat cheese. Next time I make this panini I think I will chop up the avocado and beets and mix with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the za'atar spice mixture and place on top of one of the bread slices instead of stacking, the flavors will blend more evenly this way. I was inspired by one of my favorite bakeries in Downtown Miami, Zak the Baker to use za'atar spice, which is a middle eastern spice mixture that has such an unique taste. This spice mixture consists of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, and salt, however some other spices such as sumac might also be added.

A savory yet nutritious panini, good fats from the avocado & olive oil, protein from the goat cheese, antioxidants and detoxification benefits from the beets, & using sprouted grain toast gives you a good amount of natural fiber. I love the colors of this sandwich, so vibrant, just like Spring! 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Author: Nia Hankenhof, student


Ingredients:
1 cooked beet sliced or chopped
Half an avocado sliced or chopped
2 slices of spouted grain toast
handful of arugula
2 tbsp goat cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp za'atar spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional) 



Directions:
Chop beets & avocado and place aside in a bowl together. Spread 1 tablespoon of goat cheese on the inner side of each slice of toast. Add za'atar spice, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the chopped avocado and beets and mix. Heat up your grill pan to about medium heat or if you have a panini press that works too. Once heated add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Take avocado and beet mixture and top on one of the slices of sprouted grain toast. Add to grill pan and press down for about 2-3 minutes flip and repeat on the other side.
 

Living a life that we get strength & energy from - something that gives us a reason to be active and move.


Much love,

Nia