Roasted Beet Salad
If revenge is a dish best served cold, beets are a close second. These red root vegetables are more versatile than we give them credit for, and make a meaty addition to summer salads.
At Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, North Carolina, executive chef Sarah Zell created her roasted beet salad after staring down box after box of beets from the onsite farm and local purveyors. “I hate to be wasteful and the abundance forced me to experiment,” she says. “We’ve used beets as sides—honey-glazed, in vegetable gratin and pickled—but wanted to expand our ability to make them a central feature of a salad or appetizer.”
After she roasts the beets, Zell chills or lets them cool to room temperature. “This cold cooked dish is what makes it perfect for spring and summertime,” Zell says. “It’s also about the accompaniments—the fresh greens, citrus, creamy goat cheese—and there’s room for more, like strawberries, fresh red onion and candied or toasted nuts.”
Roasted Beet Salad
- 16 baby beets
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon turbinado or granulated sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1.5 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- ½ pound baby arugula
- ½ large red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- Drizzle of balsamic reduction or store-bought balsamic glaze
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Trim the beets to remove all stems and leaves, reserving the beets greens for a sautéed side item if desired. Wash beets with a vegetable brush to remove any remaining soil.
3. Toss cleaned beets to coat in vegetable oil, salt, pepper and sugar. Place in baking pan, wrap tightly with foil and cook in preheated oven. (If you are cooking different colored beets, cook separately, or the colors will bleed.) A knife inserted into the beet should pull out easily when beets are cooked—about 45 minutes for small beets, up to 2 hours for very large, full-grown beets.
4. Leave the beets covered for 5-10 minutes before peeling. Use gloves, if available, and a kitchen rag that can be discarded to wipe away the beet skins. A knife can be used to peel the beets if preferred.
5. The oil in the pan can be reserved to make a colorful vinaigrette to dress the arugula and/or the plate. Standard vinaigrettes are 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar—you can use a white wine vinegar or white balsamic to retain the bright color of the beets—sweeten and emulsify with a small amount of honey.
6. Slice larger beets or leave baby beets whole. Arrange baby arugula, shaved red onions and goat cheese on decorative salad plates and top with roasted beets.
7. Balsamic glaze can be found in most grocery stores or you can make a balsamic reduction at home by reducing a full 16-ounce bottle by half on medium-low heat until thickened. Drizzle balsamic reduction and beet vinaigrette over the salad and around the plate.