Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Walnuts & Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette
Chefs love beets, as evidenced by fine dining restaurant menus everywhere, but people generally avoid cooking them at home. Either they think they don’t like them (no doubt due to all those yucky canned salad bar beets) or they prefer to order them in restaurants because they’re not sure how to make them. I, for one, avoided beets for years after my grandmother persuaded me at age nine to taste jarred Borscht, a cold Russian beet soup that is shockingly magenta. I never tried it again but fresh roasted beets eventually won me over. They’re wonderfully earthy and sweet—a far cry from Grandma’s pink soup or those weird pickled beets from a can.
They may look intimidating with their colorful leafy stems and rough exteriors but they’re not hard to make. It takes two seconds to prep them, then they cook unattended in the oven for about an hour. The only tricky part is peeling them because they stain everything pink, but it’s honestly not a big deal.
To roast them, begin by snipping off the greens about an inch from the stem and leave the “tails” on. This prevents the pigment from leaking out when you cook them. You can save the greens and cook them as you would swiss chard or discard them.
Next, drizzle the beets with olive oil and wrap them up in aluminum foil. Roast them directly on the oven rack for about an hour. You’ll know they’re done when you can easily pierce them with a knife.
Let them cool, then peel the skin and cut into chunks.You can wear gloves if you want to prevent your hands from turning temporarily pink but I never bother.
The rest of the salad is a breeze. For the vinaigrette, combine the honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, oil, shallots, salt and pepper in a jar and shake to emulsify.
When you’re ready to serve, toss the greens with the dressing. Divide the salad onto plates, then sprinkle with goat cheese, walnuts and beets.
It’s gorgeous and so good for you…enjoy!
Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheese & Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette
For the Beets
1 bunch medium beets (about 3)
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Salad
10 ounces mixed greens (I like a blend of frisee, radicchio and mesclun)
3 ounces goat cheese
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
For the Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons honey
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (best quality, such as Pompeian Gourmet)
1½ tablespoons minced shallots
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
For the beets:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Wipe or scrub beets clean then trim stems down to one-inch (leave “tails” on). Place beets on a large piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil, then wrap foil around them to form a neat packet. Roast directly on rack in middle of oven until tender, about 1 hour. Test for doneness by piercing the largest beet with a knife. If it enters easily, it’s done. Unwrap beets and let sit until cool enough to handle. Use your hands or a paring knife to peel skin, then cut into ½-inch dice (I usually do this right on the aluminum foil but you can also use a stain-proof cutting board or plate). Set aside.
For the vinaigrette:
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. (Alternatively, add all your ingredients to a jar, cover with lid, and shake vigorously to blend.) Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
For the salad:
Place the greens in a large bowl, drizzle with about half of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add as much of the remaining vinaigrette as desired and toss again. Divide greens onto plates, then sprinkle with beets, walnuts and goat cheese. (The reason you don’t just mix it all together in a salad bowl is that the beets would cause the whole salad to turn pink.) Serve immediately.