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Roasted-Beet Salad

July 19, 2010

by Emily


Let me just say, this salad is SO awkward. Don’t get me wrong, it is delicious, but involved a top 10 getmeoutofherenow!!! trip to the grocery store. First thing’s first, I picked up the beets. Beets have stems. Have you ever seen beets with stems? Whoever was on security duty that evening was probably watching me on the camera – laughing – as I selected, bagged, weighed, and carted up the beets. I must have picked out the beets with the longest. stems. ever. Not kidding, they were probably four feet tall. I know this because I pulled the ridiculous bunch of beets I wanted out of the bin which resulted in an incredibly unfortunate avalanche of produce all around me. Totally fine. Thankfully, I got that under control and attempted to bag up my beet selection. As you know, produce bags are approximately 18-inches tall. My 48-inch tall beets did not fit, which was also fine, I just draped the loose stems over the side of the cart. This was just fine until someone accidentally ran over my beet stems (I mean, honestly…) which caused them to become dislodged from my cart and dragged to their sudden beet death under the organic herb section at Central Market. Awesome. Don’t worry, I just stood there and watched, because that is generally what I do when I should speak up. The best part of this whole scenario is that the person mauling my beets didn’t even notice. They dragged those awkward veggies for at least ten feet, which was, at the very least, really unintentionally funny!  Based on this little oops, I am sure you can guess what kind of shopper this was – yes, a Power Mom with one enormous shopping basket. And two stray children. That may have been on leashes. It was all too much! Anyway, I went back to the beet section, made a new selection and kept moving. WHEW.

For me, preparing this roasted-beet salad became quite laborious long before I entered the kitchen. However, if you can make it through grocery store mayhem, I assure you it is worth it. This salad was a perfect vegetarian main course for me, but would also be wonderful paired with steaks on the grill. Also, do not be deterred because you have to roast the beets. I did this a day in advance while I was roasting eggplant for this post, and, as it turns out, that part was very, very simple.

Roasted-Beet Salad
closely follows this recipe found on Gourmet.com

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 bunch beets
1 head Butter or Bibb lettuce
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 oz crumbled blue cheese (1/4 cup) 

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat oven to 425°F.  Tightly wrap beets in a double layer of foil and roast on a baking sheet until very tender, 80-90 minutes. Cool in foil package, about 20 minutes.  When beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding stems and root ends, then cut into 1/2 inch wedges.  Place in refrigerator to cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Add beets and toss to coat. On a bed of lettuce, add beet wedges, then top with toasted nuts and cheese.

Makes 2 large main course salads or 4 side salads.

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