Roasted beet salad is all about the beets, baby. But you also need spicy greens, creamy ripe cheese and a balanced salad dressing. We show you how.
We all know there are vegetables that many, many people despise. (A Brussels sprout looks around the room nervously and begins to back away. Soon to be followed by a turnip. And then a beet. The beet grabs a stick of celery from a nearby Bloody Mary as it exits.) But the thing is, I’m pretty sure that most people just think they hate these vegetables. And the aversion they experience is not because these maligned veggies are actually gross*, but because they’ve most likely had them prepared incorrectly.
*Except for celery which actually is gross and no amount of jiggery pokery will change that.
Take Brussels sprouts, for example (always at the very top of the “hated vegetable” list). Many people boil them until they are a thoroughly revolting shade of gray and the texture of a moldy sponge. They also think that a little pat of butter will camouflage the criminally sulfurous smell. Then they wonder why there is a child-shaped hole in the wall and little Timmy has run off to join the circus. BUT, take those same sprouts, coat them well in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in a very hot oven and they’ll come out as crisp as french fries and just as addictive. And little Timmy can stay in school and become a doctor, or a film editor or some other, equally respectable occupation.
So now let’s talk about the poor, innocent beet. What is it about this gorgeous vegetable that make so many people scream “nope, nope, nope” and slither as far away as possible?
Honestly I just don’t get the beet hatred. Maybe it’s the mushy canned and overly-sour versions that were popular the 1970s that throw people off. The fact is that when beets are prepared well, they have a lovely, earthy flavor that is delicious, especially when paired with tart goat cheese and sweet, crunchy hazelnuts.
They’re also insanely healthy. Like, crazy good for you. Beets and beet greens contain valuable nutrients that can help lower blood pressure, fight cancer and inflammation, boost stamina, and support detoxification.
This Shallot-Mustard Vinaigrette is so simple and so delicious, we use it on almost every salad we make.
- This same salad with bleu cheese and walnuts would be equally divine.
- The beets take a while so you could roast them up to three days ahead.
- In the dressing, you can use a tablespoon or two of toasted hazelnut or walnut oil in place of some of the olive oil. Those oils cost a bloody fortune but even a little bit adds great flavor.
- The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- Sometimes, wen we just don’t have the time to spend roasting fresh ones, we use an unflavored package of Love Beets. They’re almost as good and means the salad is ready in 5 minutes.
- 5-7 medium beets (preferable golden, but any kind will do)
- 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, skins on, smashed
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 4 cups baby kale or arugula
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 4 ounces goat cheese (aged or fresh)
- 1 scallion, minced (white and green parts)
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Place a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil on a baking sheet. In the middle of the foil, place the beets, 2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic and thyme; season well with salt and pepper. Crimp all four corners of the foil to make a air-tight package and place the baking tray in the oven. Roast for about 1½ hours (this will vary depending on the size of your beets, small ones could be done in as little as 45 minutes so check every so often), until the beets are tender and the flesh of the beet is pierced easily with a knife. Allow beets to cool and then peel the skin using the abrasion of a paper towel. Cut them into slices and set aside.
- Meanwhile, spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer the nuts to a kitchen towel and let cool slightly, then rub them together in the towel to remove the skins. Coarsely chop the nuts.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the shallot and mustard and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the honey and gradually whisk in the remaining ½ cup of olive oil and season the dressing with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, toss the kale with just enough dressing to coat lightly, Arrange on a platter. In the same bowl, toss the beets with 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the beets on the platter, on tp of the greens and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top. Scatter the goat cheese and scallions over the salad and serve, with the additional dressing on the side.
- MAKE AHEAD The roasted beets can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.