Author: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, Extension Educator
Beet salads often command a fairly high price in restaurants. However, they are easy to make and many of the steps can be done earlier in the day:
- Cook, peel and refrigerate the beets (covered).
- Toast the walnuts
- Make and refrigerate the salad dressing (covered).
If you don't care for goat cheese, this salad also tastes good without it.
- 6 medium or 3 large beets
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/4 pound salad greens (rinsed and then dried in a salad spinner or with paper towels), torn into pieces (equals about 6 cups)
- 4 ounces goat cheese (optional)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion, finely chopped
- Dash of salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cut off all but 1 to 2 inches of the beet stems and leave the root on the bottom. This helps retain the flavor and minimizes the amount of color that bleeds out during cooking.
- Gently wash the beets, trying not to break the skin. Place beets in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover saucepan, and bring water to a boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer until beets are tender. Small beets may cook in as little as 20 minutes; large beets may take an hour or more. Test for tenderness by sticking the edge of a sharp knife through to the center of a beet.
- Plunge beets into cold water to cool. Rub the skins off with your hands — it may work best to do this under running water. Wearing clean, kitchen gloves will prevent your hands from becoming stained. I like to keep some of the inexpensive disposable, plastic gloves on hand for tasks such as this. Cut beets into chunks.
- Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet at medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove them immediately when they become fragrant and just begin to darken.
- Combine the salad greens and the walnuts. Make the salad dressing by combining all the ingredients and shaking in a small jar with a tightly closed lid or mixing with a wire whip until the dressing becomes thick and creamy.
- Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the salad dressing. Mix the rest of the dressing with the salad greens and walnuts. In a separate bowl, combine the reserved dressing with the beets.
- Arrange the salad greens on 4 to 6 salad plates. Top with the beets. Crumble the goat cheese on top. Serve soon after plating.
Makes 4 generous or 6 smaller servings