Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Pickled Red Onion, Feta, and Mint
Winter! Those long, depressingly dark and frigid months. It may seem like there’s not much to like about the coldest season but there are a few highlights when it comes to food. Citrus season coincides with winter. All those beautiful and tangy lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and limes make winter just a bit brighter. Pair them with a humble root vegetable like the beet, and you can create a dish that’s colorful and bursts with flavor. Winter just got a lot more zesty.
To make this salad even more spectacular, I top it with pickled red onion for some punch and feta cheese for that tang and creaminess. Plus, there's mint to add freshness. It's such a simple salad that you can prep for in advance and just assemble at the last minute before lunch or dinner. Serve it as an appetizer or a side dish to your favorite main. It's a simple and satisfying pick-me-up in the middle of winter.
Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Pickled Red Onion, Feta, and MintNote: You won't use all the pickled red onion for this salad, so you'll have extra left over you can use for other recipes like topping tacos, sandwiches, or omelets.
4 medium beets, trimmed of their stems and roots
1/2 red onion
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ounces feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Lay a large sheet of aluminum foil on a sheet pan. Add the beets, and cover with another sheet of aluminum foil. Fold and crimp all four edges. Place the sheet pan in the oven, and roast for about 1 hour or until a knife or fork can be easily inserted into the beets.
Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, trim the skin of each orange, revealing the juicy flesh beneath, making sure to remove all the white pith. Cut each orange crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Add the orange slices to a container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
Next, thinly slice the red onion lengthwise to create crescent shapes. Add the sliced onion to a jar. Add the sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Pour over with the vinegar and 1/4 cup boiling water. Tighten the lid of the jar, and shake to incorporate. Chill for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
Remove the beets from the oven, open the aluminum foil pouch, and let them cool to the touch. Wearing gloves and using a paper towel, peel the skins off each beet, and remove the stem end—with a knife, if needed. Add the beets to a container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. Cut each beet crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.
On a large platter, assemble the salad by alternating between a beet slice and an orange slice. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with as much of the pickled red onion as you like and drizzle with a little bit of the brining liquid. Crumble the feta over the salad, and sprinkle with the mint leaves. Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.