Roasting beets intensifies their natural flavors and jewel toned colors. Slicing them into rounds creates a gorgeous base for creating a spectacular but simple salad. I topped the roasted beets with crumbled goat cheese and pistachios with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. The goat cheese adds a creamy tang that complements the earthy beets and the pistachios provide a satisfying salty crunch. This is the perfect departure from the traditional tossed green salad, although you could lay the sliced beets on top of a bed of baby greens. Other good additions would be citrus slices or segments, pomegranate seeds, thinly sliced red onion, avocado, burrata or sliced fresh mozzarella.
The intense colors of BEETS are not just for show. The pigments that give them their rich colors are phytonutrients called betalains. which are either red or yellow, and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Beets give you a big bang for the buck. They are vitamin rich, including iron, vitamin C and B6, while also low in calories (35 calories in a 2 inch beet), no cholesterol and almost no fat, so they can be your guilty pleasure. Speaking of guilty pleasures, this Four Pepper Goat Cheese from Trader Joe’s was a nice extra touch. However, use any cheese that you prefer. A great vegan option would be using one of the soft cheeses by Miyoko’s Kitchen which is starting to get traction outside of the Bay Area, so check them out! I have good luck finding it in Whole Foods Markets.
Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts. They are delicious and easy to use if you buy them pre-shelled. Although this salad uses only a small amount of them, they still contribute more than just flavor and crunch. Pistachios have protein and fiber and as a bonus, contain fewer calories and more potassium and vitamin K per serving than other nuts.
TIPS: The beets take about an hour to roast and then they have to cool, at least enough to handle. Luckily, they can be roasted a day or so ahead of time, peeled and refrigerated until you are ready to use them. Or you can sometimes buy already roasted beets for a super short cut. Once the beets are cooked and cooled, the salad is ready in minutes. Enjoy!
BEET SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PISTACHIOS
- 4-6 beets, preferably different varieties (red, golden or chiogga)
- 1/4 cup pistachios (toasted almonds, walnuts or pecans)
- 2 oz (2-3 Tbsn) goat cheese (or other crumbly cheese like feta)
- 1 Tbsn fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut off beet greens and save for another use. (They are delicious sautéed in butter or olive oil with salt and pepper} Take care not to cut into the beets or you will lose some of the juice in cooking. Leave the root or ‘tail’ end. It’s easy to pinch off after it’s cooked. If you must remove it, leave a short tail to minimize juice seepage. (I absent mindedly cut mine off without thinking and they turned out fine but a slightly harder clean up.)
- Spray a baking dish with olive oil and place the beets inside. Spray or drizzle them with olive oil. Cover tightly with foil. For an even easier clean up, line the bottom of the pan with foil too. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for about an hour. They should be easily pierced with a fork but not soft and mushy. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Remove the beet skins with a papertowel and pinch off the stem and tail.
- Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the beets and place on a platter in a single layer.
- Here is your opportunity to be artistic. I recommend slicing your golden beets first to prevent having to wash the mandolin between colors. Warning: the red beets will dye anything they come into contact with, so don’t use anything with a porous surface (like wood).
- Roughly chop the pistachios and parsley and sprinkle them on top of the beets. Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle it as well.
Whisk the oil and vinegar together (or combine in a shaker). Season with salt and pepper to taste (I usually use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Drizzle over beets and serve with remaining dressing on the side.
Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios