Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

beet salad

There are many more ways to enjoy beets than canned or pickled or as grandma's borscht. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is roasted and served cold alongside a green salad. Lately restaurants have made the beet salad trendy by serving it as an in-season menu specialty. But it's just as easy to make this healthy dish at home while saving some money in the process. It's all just a matter of some planning ahead to roast the beets. After that, putting the salad together takes only minutes.

On my latest trip to the Union Square Greenmarket last week I was hoping to find the perfect beets. Many sellers had them, but I was looking for the extra-special kind. What I came to find was a wall of the most beautiful varieties: red, white, and Chioggga, which are the bright red ones that once cut crosswise reveals a bulls-eye. So I bought a bunch of each and used them as inspiration for building this colorful dish.

beets

When buying beets, look for firm, smooth, and unblemished roots. Also look for bright greens that are not wilted. Once home, the beet greens should be used immediately. They are great sautéed with garlic and oil. Trim the beet roots leaving a bit of the stem intact. The raw beets can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or so. When ready to use, wash and scrub. Peel the skins once they have been cooked. Just don't forget to wear gloves.

In this simple salad, the beets are the main attraction. First they are slowly roasted to concentrate their flavors and then chilled. The green base is made from slightly bitter frisée paired with peppery baby arugula. Finally the salad is topped with tangy goat cheese, crunchy walnuts, and a tart lemon vinaigrette. The earthy flavor of the beets and the lively flavors of the salad come together to form a fresh meal that's evocative of spring.

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

8 ounces frisée, torn into pieces
4 ounces baby arugula
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Wash salad greens thoroughly and spin dry.

In large bowl make the vinaigrette by whisking together the oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Add the salad greens and toss to coat.

To serve, top each plate with dressed salad greens, a bit of crumbled goat cheese, chopped walnuts, and halved or quartered roasted beets. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Roasted Beets

Tip: Roast the beets at least a day before you intend to serve this dish and the salad preparation is made that much easier.

8 medium beets in different colors
olive oil
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove stems, wash, scrub, and dry beets thoroughly.

Place beets on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fold over the foil and crimp the edges very tightly, creating an envelope. Make sure to separate the different colors of beets in their own packets to prevent the colors from mixing.

Place the packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake beets until tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 to 55 minutes depending on their size.

Allow beets to cool a bit before handling. While wearing gloves, tear open the packets and rub each beet with a paper towel to remove its skin.

Refrigerate beets until ready to use. The roasted beets last for about 1 week in the refrigerator.