Pick up any menu at a “farm-to-table” restaurant these days and you will likely see roasted beets, either as a salad or a side. For example, just check out the menus of three Atlanta hotspots: The Optimist (marinated beets, buttermilk cheese, pistachio), Miller Union (gingered beets) and Empire State South (beets and strawberries salad). Probably once seen as the most boring vegetable ever (aside from brussels sprouts), roasted beets might even now be considered sexy. And you know what else is sexy? Beets are super good for you and a great source of nutrients such as vitamin C, folate and magnesium.
This roasted beet salad is perfect for the transition from winter into spring. The bright notes of citrus remind me of summer, but the roasted beets are hearty and satisfying, which we crave while there is still a chill in the air. Plus, if you have some anti-beet people in your house, they may be swayed once they taste the delicious combination of beets with goat cheese.
I went to college at Duke (yes, we just got totally annihilated in the NCAA tournament) and if you ever happen to find yourself in Durham or Chapel Hill, one of the most awesome places for lunch or brunch is Foster’s Market. Foster’s Market is like Dean and Deluca but probably 10 times better and dedicated to local and seasonal produce. This recipe is from Sara Foster’s cookbook Fresh Every Day, which is filled with tons of great ideas, as well as stunning photographs. One of my friends gave this book to me during my “pre-cooking” days and now I am super jazzed to test out the recipes.
The original recipe calls for fennel, which I omitted because I am not a fan. But if you are, feel free to add in some thinly sliced fennel. Also, I find red onion to be very strong, so I used a light hand with it. You can adjust these amounts easily depending on how many people you have, but this recipe is written to serve 6 to 8 people.
Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges, Goat Cheese and Mint
What You’ll Need:
6 medium sized beets (pick a variety of colors), trimmed of greens and washed well
the juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
3 navel oranges, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small red onion, sliced into very thin rounds
3 ounces crumbled goat cheese (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
What You’ll Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place the beets in a baking dish with sides so that the juices don’t pour over into your oven while they are cooking. If you are using different colors, place them in separate containers to prevent the colors from bleeding together. Pour the orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and 1/4 cup of water over the beets and season with salt and pepper. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and roast the beets until they are fork tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and allow the beets to cool to room temperature. Reserve the cooking liquid.
3. Peel and slice the beets into 1/4-inch rounds. I would suggest using some throw away plastic gloves here so that the red beets do not stain your hands. If you do this, it makes clean up much easier. You can plate the salad individually or on a platter. Arrange the different colored beets and oranges such that different colors are next to each other. Top with thinly sliced onion, chopped herbs and a bit of crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle the reserved cooking liquid over the salad and season with salt and pepper.
This would be a stunning salad to entertain with and you could roast the beets ahead of time and just assemble it at the last minute. I like to be conservative on the goat cheese to keep it more delicate, but you can of course adjust the ingredients to your taste! I hope you all enjoy!