Thursday, September 18, 2014

Roasted Beets Salad

I've always heard about beets but have never tried them until fairly recently. The things I heard about them were always mixed; some say it's wonderful and tasty, while others swear it's disgusting. For a food to be so polarizing, I reasoned it must be one of those love-it-or-hate-it types--like cilantro (love!) or liver (also love!) So to be safe, I avoided trying beets and waited for an opportunity where my first beet experience would be optimal (I don't even know what that meant).

One day, I was having lunch with my friend Christina at the restaurant Park & Sixth in Jersey City. A roasted beets salad was on the menu and both Christina and our waiter were gung-ho about it. I was less enthusiastic, and told them about my reservations. It was then explained to me that the beets that a lot of people find disgusting are usually pickled beets (it even sounds gross) but that roasted beets are rather wonderful.

Fast forward to a finished lunch and a full belly, I was now a beet-lover! It was wonderful. Sweet, earthy, and with a meaty bite, roasted beets were delicious.

When I recounted my discovery to another friend, Coco, she heartily echoed my new-found love for beets and said she makes a roasted beets salad that she loves. I knew right away I had to learn the recipe, I needed beets in my life! And the result is no disappointment, this roasted beets salad recipe is easy and delicious. If you're a first-timer when it comes to beets, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Servings: 2

Ingredients for the salad:

4 cups baby arugula
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 medium size red beets
2 medium size yellow beets
a handful of sliced almonds
Optional: goat cheese

Ingredients for the dressing:

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dijion mustard
juice of 1-1/2 lemons
pinch of salt and pepper (flavor to taste)
1/3 cup olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Make the dressing - In a medium size bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the oil. Start whisking the ingredients together as you slowly drizzle in the oil, this will allow the mixture to emulsify. Once fully combined, set aside.

3. Prepare the beets for roasting - Wash the beets in a colander, drain to dry. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper, this will help contain any juices and make clean up easier. Wrap each beet individually with foil, then place them on the sheet pan.

4. Bake the beets at 400 degrees F for 1 hour, check for doneness at 45 minutes. Beets are ready and done when you can insert a knife smoothly into it. Remove from oven and let cool.

5. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the beets by rubbing it off with a paper towel. Red beets can stain your clothes and skin easily, so using a paper towel will help protect your hands.

6. Trim off the tops and ends of the beets and cut them into wedges. Toss the beets with half of the dressing and let them marinate while you prepare and plate the salad next (the longer you let them marinate, the tastier they get!)
Tip: for a better/prettier final presentation, cut the yellow beets and red beets separately (or wash your knife in between) and also marinate them in separate bowls to prevent the yellow beets from being stained red.

7. Toss the arugula and onions with the remaining dressing. Divide the salad between two plates. Add the beets on top and sprinkle with the sliced almonds. You can also crumble some goat cheese on top if you've got it. Now, eat up! :)

Thanks to Coco for sharing her recipe and teaching this first-timer how to cook with beets! Now I can enjoy this delicious, healthy, and wonderfully colorful vegetable whenever I want :)

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