7.12.2008

Simply Roasted Beet Salad with Fresh Mint


Roast some beets for a jewel-box salad


Let’s talk about beet love.

The thing about beets is this: People tend to either devour them with joyful greed, like a dog might Hoover up a hunk of smoked turkey bacon off the floor, or spit them out in disgust after mistaking their glistening, jeweled beauty for some kind of exotic fruit. There’s no middle ground, no room for wishy-washy ambivalence when it comes to loving beets.

In the history of me, there was a time when I belonged to the latter camp. I found the curiously earthy nature of beets overwhelmingly and distractingly....dirty. Because let’s face it - along with the surprising sugary-sweetness of beets is the underlying, penetrating flavor of the earth in which they grow.

That combination of dirty-sweetness is kind of what I imagined a wad of mud rolled in honey might taste like.

It wasn’t until I worked the salad station in a restaurant kitchen that I became attached to beets in a more sensory way. One of the dishes I was responsible for was a salad topped with goat cheese and balsamic marinated roasted beets. I roasted, peeled and chopped umpteen pounds of beets, staining my hands a startling shade of magenta. I tossed and tasted all those beets to make sure they were cooked and seasoned just right.

Maybe it was that day-to-day intimacy with beets that converted me in the end, but I came around. I crossed over to the world of beet love.


I still prefer roasting to any other method of cooking beets; probably because it’s so easy to wrap them up and stick them in a hot oven, where they pretty much take care of business all by themselves. And I can’t resist beets that are colored vivid orange or the gorgeous candy-striped Chioggia varieties.

Beets have a particular affinity for things tangy; like fresh soft goat cheese, mild vinegars and citrus juices, making them perfect for salads.

I hesitate to call the following a recipe. Consider it more of a method, to ready your beets for a simple toss with olive oil, some fresh herbs, and your tangy ingredient of choice.


Simply Roasted Beet Salad with Fresh Mint

To roast your beets, trim off the greens (save those if they are in good shape and chop some up for your salad) and place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil.

Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. You’ll know they’re just about done when the kitchen takes on a pleasing aroma and the beets offer no resistance when you poke a sharp knife into them.

Let them cool a bit before slipping off the skin and slicing.

Toss the beets with some of your best olive oil, salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon or orange juice. Sprinkle with chopped mint, some crumbled goat cheese and serve over salad greens.



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22 comments:

Lisa said...

When I hear "beets" I usually think "pickled" and the idea of pickled beets really turns me off. But your salad looks so pretty, and I love mint, so I kept reading. And, wow! This is the first beet recipe I have ever seen that I am actually tempted to try! Having recently heard that beets are a power food, I think the timing might be right and this recipe might be the perfect introduction.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I do love roasted beets, too. But last week I peeled baby beets, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, wrapped them in a tin-foil pouch, and cooked them on the grill. Oh, they were wonderful!

Kalyn said...

The beets are so beautifully colorful.

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Count me in the Hoovering-dog category. I adore beets. The recipe sounds delicious and the colors are simply gorgeous.

Liza said...

As a newly converted beet-lover, I was so excited to see this recipe. It is also one of the prettiest beet dishes I have ever seen! Yum.

Karen said...

Wow, Lisa. I'm glad you've become inspired by my salad. Go out and seize the beet!

Lydia - okay, beets on the grill just might be the best. I'll have to try it...

Thanks Kalyn. Beets have that color thing going for them.

Sweet and Savory, thanks for stopping by. Good to meet another beet-dog!

Liza, it is pretty. I think those golden beets are spectacular.

Lynda said...

I love vegetables and I love to cook. And I want to love beets, but have had a problem overcoming that earthy flavor. Yet, I am continually seduced by the intense colors of these things, and I am trying your technique of slowly and steadily eating a beet on a frequent basis. It seems to work!

Dragon said...

Stunning! I'm not a big fan of beets but then again, I've never seen them looking so yummy. :)

lifeinrecipes said...

That is one pretty, pretty photo, and I'll bet the beets taste every bit as
good as they look.

gkbloodsugar said...

Their blushed edges are beautiful, aren't they?

Great post.

Karen said...

Lynda, they do grow on you, little by little and then all of a sudden. You'll be a beet lover in no time.

Hi Dragon - maybe nature made them so beautiful so we'd eat them!

Life in Recipes, thanks for stopping for a beet!

GkBloodSugar, yes, I do love that they are blushed like that. So lovely. Thanks...

GirlCanBake said...

Gorgeous color! So simple and delicious! I love!!!

giz said...

I only recently rekindled my love affair with beets. I wish we saw the yellow beets more often. The combination makes your salad gorgeous and the mint is a great addition.

Proud Italian Cook said...

They really look like beautiful jewels, I love your photos and this recipe!

Squishy said...

They just look sensational. I love beets but have so much trouble getting really fresh ones up here in North Queensland. Yum!

Lori said...

Wow... That salad is so beautiful! I love the colors. I have some red beets in my gardem that I will use to make this lovely salad.

Heather said...

oh my gosh. this looks AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS. i love beets. I am making this very, very soon!

Anna said...

This is off the topic of beets, but now that you are part of the BlogHer network, I expect to see you at the next BlogHer convention. I really wished you were there.

Lubna karim said...

I always run out by seeing beets but this looks yummy i will try it out.

Jenny said...

Looks like a perfect recipe Karen! I love all the flavors going on!

Anonymous said...

Here are some pictures from Pappy's Steakhouse in St. Louis.

http://stlouis.metromix.com/restaurants/photogallery/inside-pappys-smokehouse/537429/content

Nicole said...

This will be the first beet recipe for me. I can't wait!