I became hooked on beets when I went abroad to Australia. I saw them everywhere… on salads, as salads, as pizza toppings, you name it! After one great experience, I would rarely pass up the opportunity to order them. The first time I tried to cook them, and failed, is when I fell in love. A beet plays hard to get- you have to take time and care to avoid a mess, and they demand attention. Roasting them in the oven for a long time is the way to a tender beet’s heart. You have to put in the work for your beet to respond to you. But if you play your cards right, and romance them in the kitchen, you have a spectacular accompaniment to any meal. This salad is simple and straightforward, a platform to showcase the beauty of red beets and highlight their natural sweetness.
Makes: 4 side servings
Baking Time: 2 hours Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
3 large beets (softball sized)
2/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped and lightly toasted
2/3 cup goat cheese crumbles
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup walnut oil (any nut oil or salad oil can substitute)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs honey
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the stems from the beets. Peel them as best you can without turning your hands red. You can use gloves (although I find them a little annoying) or you can take a paper towel to hold one end while you peel another.
- Wrap the beets in foil twice, and place in the oven with the crease facing up. This will avoid spilling beet juice all over the floor later. Cook for two hours, or until the beets can be easily poked with a fork. Check after 90 minutes depending on the size of the beets you use.
- Remove the beets from the oven and cool for 15 minutes on the counter top.
- Use a fork to remove the beets from the foil while reserving the juices. Cut the beets with a knife into bite sized segments. I personally like the imperfect cuts so that the salad has more of a rustic look.
- Whisk together the apple cider, honey, and any beet juice reserved during the cooking process. Drizzle the olive oil in and whisk together well to make an emulsion. Lightly season with a few cracks of black pepper.
- Assemble the salad by arranging the beets on a white plate, followed by the walnuts and then the goat cheese.
- Drizzle with the vinaigrette and top with the sea salt to serve.