I can’t even believe this but I used to hate beets. Ok. Maybe not hate. But I seriously disliked them. What I’ve learned though over the years is that my beef wasn’t with beets. It was with beet preparation!
Turns out I just don’t really like pickled beets or canned beets.
But roasted beets? That’s another story! Roasting them makes them kind of sweet and they have a great texture. This is one of those salads that’s completely simple but will really impress people.
It’s especially impressive if you can do it without staining your hands!
1) Chop off stems of beets and give them a quick scrub to remove any large pieces of dirt. Set beets on a baking dish and bake for 60 minutes at 400 degrees. The beets should be very tender all the way through.
If the beets are hard at all, roast for another 15 minutes.
2) Let the beets cool for 10 minutes or so when they come out of the oven and then use a peeler or paring knife to peel the beets.
3) Slice the beets thinly (about 1/8 inch thick) and lay beets on a bed of arugula or spinach. Top with chopped pistachios, crumbled goat cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
4) You could also serve on individual plates, but I like to serve it as one large platter.
Roasting the Beets
There really is only one step to this salad which is: Roast the beets. It’s pretty obvious what to do after that.
The thing about beets is that they grow in the ground. That means they are fairly dirty little things when you get them.
Even before roasting them, I like to clean them up a bit. I’m not sure it’s completely necessary because you peel them after you roast them anyway, but I cut off the stems and bottom root and give them a quick scrub.
Then just toss them on a baking sheet!
NOTE: Don’t throw away the beet greens! You can cook them just like you would spinach. They are really delicious sauteed with a bit of garlic and olive oil.
These will need to roast for about 60 minutes at 400 degrees. Yes. That’s a long time, but these guys are sturdy! The long roasting time really helps concentrate the flavors!
If you’re in a hurry, you can also boil the beets, but I find that they aren’t as flavorful when they’ve been boiled.
You’ll know they are done because you should be able to easily pierce through them with a paring knife. If the beet flesh is hard at all, then roast them for another 15 minutes.
These will be really hot when they come out of the oven so let them cool for a few minutes before trying to peel them.
Peeling the Beets
When it comes to peeling beets, I prefer a good paring knife over any kind of peeler. Beet skin tends to be kind of thick and it always gets stuck in my peeler. Then I get annoyed and throw my peeler out the window.
So I just use a knife. If you hold the paring knife in between your forefinger and your thumb you can just slide the blade around the beet, easily peeling off the skin.
You’ll be left with little orbs of deliciousness.
Luckily, the golden variety won’t stain your hands, but the red variety most certainly will. So if you’re opposed to having red hands for a day or two, you might want to wear some gloves. Honestly, I’m too lazy for that though. I just wash my hands right away after I peel/slice them and the stain fades pretty quickly.
I like to serve this on a really large platter. Put down a good bed of arugula (you could also use spinach). Then slice your beets and arrange them in some pretty pattern. Remember that if your red beets touch your golden beets, your golden beets will turn red!
To finish off the dish, drizzle on a bit of olive oil, sprinkle it with a pinch of kosher or sea salt, crumble up some goat cheese on top, and if you’re feeling ambitious, toss on some chopped pistachios!
So obviously the one thing about this salad is that while it’s a really simple salad to make, it does take some time just because the beets need to roast. It’d be perfect for a weekend dinner party though or maybe even for a picnic!
I do believe this salad could turn almost anyone into a beet liker. I won’t be as ambitious to say beet lover. But definitely a beet liker.