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Roasted Beet Salad with Vinaigrette

February 24, 2013

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If there’s a beet salad on the menu at a restaurant, it’s likely I will order it. There’s something so appealing about the rich color and earthly flavor of beets, paired with a creamy goat cheese and tangy vinaigrette. My favorite quick and easy way to have beets at home is buying pre-roasted Love Beets at the market. I throw them into an arugula salad on a weeknight and have a delicious and elegant salad to enjoy.

I’m all for making life easier but I also believe that if I can make it quite easily at home, why not enjoy something homemade? I’ve had mixed success roasting beets at home in the past. Sometimes they cook unevenly or take significantly longer than expected so I’ve been hesitant to roast my own for awhile. I’m a big fan of Ina Garten and her recipes have never lead me astray so I wanted to try the Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad in her new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. On a recent trip to a winter farmers market, I found a beautiful assortment of beets and decided to give her method a try. I bought red, golden and ciogga beets. I just love the assortment of colors, especially the ciogga beets that look like candy canes when you cut into them raw.

Packing each beet individually in foil was a great success. Perhaps I was crowding too many into foil packets in the past, but I’ve now roasted beets two times using this method and both times they cooked evenly and in about an hour. Quickly marinating them in a vinaigrette gives them a tangy finish that makes them stand out in a salad. This would be a great salad for entertaining – you can roast the beets early in the day and marinate them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the salad. Simply toss the greens with vinaigrette, spoon the beautiful beets onto the lettuce and crumble some goat cheese over the top. A pinch of salt and a quick grind of fresh black pepper completes the salad.

Isn’t this one beautiful salad?

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Roasted Beet Salad with Vinaigrette
serves 6-8
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

8 medium beets, a mix of red, Golden and ciogga if you can find them, greens removed and scrubbed
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (white balsamic and sherry vinegar are also good)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 oz greens such as red and green lettuce, arugula or mesclun mix
4 oz soft goat cheese, such as Vermont Creamery chevre (it’s my favorite and readily available at the supermarket)

Preheat the oven to 400°. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil, tightly sealing the edges. Place on a rimmed baking sheet with some space around each beet packet. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until beets are tender. Test by inserting a knife into a beet. Unwrap the beets and set aside for 10 minutes or until beets are still warm but cool enough to handle. Peel beets using a paring knife. If you are using different colored beets, keep them separate so the colors don’t bleed.

While the beets are cooling, prepare the vinaigrette. Whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Once you’ve peeled the beets and they are still warm, cut into small wedges and place into a mixing bowl. If you are using different colored beets, use a separate bowl for each color to prevent bleeding. Toss the warm beets with several tablespoons of vinaigrette so they absorb the vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

In a large bowl, toss salad greens with vinaigrette. You can either serve the salad on a large platter or individual plates. Either way, place greens at the bottom of serving vessel and arrange the beets on top. Crumble goat cheese over the beets and drizzle with more vinaigrette, if desired. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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