Beets were something I avoided growing up. My mom used to buy the bottled beet borscht for both her and my dad; never fresh, only bottled. I tried it, hated it and had not attempted to buy them or eat them for years. In more recent history, another taste of red beet borscht was made at a friend’s home who honoured me with her homemade version and I liked it. Then, a few years ago, I had an organic vegetable delivery service to my home and when I saw these beautiful colourful beets in the basket, I knew it was time to give them a go or give them away…but no, I rose to the challenge. Now I buy the beets at my local farmers’ market.
I found this Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad recipe on the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) website and I was won over. Beets are easiest to peel if they are roasted first. After they have cooled, the skins easily slide off. Instead of shredding the beets as suggested in the original recipe, I sliced them thinly to reveal their geometric design of concentric circles. Very pretty for this salad.
The rest of the ingredients, beside the baby lettuce greens, are goat cheese, walnuts, sliced shallots, mint leaves and chives. All adding a combination of texture, colour, and flavours to the salad.
The dressing consists of two oils, olive and walnut oil, plus sherry vinegar. The walnut oil gives the dressing a nutty addition and complements the chopped walnuts in the salad. If you don’t have walnut oil around, substitute more olive oil.
Preparing the salad for dinner for two…place the greens on plates and place the beet slices overlapping over the lettuce. Now is the time to use your creative flair and arrange crumbled bits of goat cheese, walnuts, sliced shallots and chopped mint on top of the beets and garnish with the chives. Divide the dressing between the two plates.
A beautiful sunshine-y salad for a hot summery day. Easy to prepare and a delicious way to enjoy farmers’ market beets.
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
from the original recipe: Roasted Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
5 beets, mixed colour (no red)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 large or 2 small, sliced shallots
3 tbsp chopped mint
½ cup walnut pieces
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 cups mixed baby greens
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp walnut oil (if you don’t have walnut oil, add another tbsp. olive oil)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
chives to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Place beets in a baking dish with olive oil and water. Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size. Beets should be crisp-tender, not soft. Cool. Slip skins off beets and slice thinly.
3. Combine sherry vinegar, walnut oil and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide the baby greens between two serving dishes and place a row of overlapping beet slices over the greens. Arrange the crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, shallots and mint on top and garnish with the chives. Divide the dressing between the two plates and serve immediately.