Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnut Salad

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnut Salad

If my grandmother could see me now she probably wouldn't believe what was before her eyes. Beets. On my table. And I'm enjoying them. Perhaps it's her influence leading me down this road; I do live in her house after all. I can remember sitting in this same kitchen refusing to even touch her home-pickled beets. What I wouldn't give to have a bite of her home-canned beets today! Until I figure out how to do pickle them myself this roasted-beet salad will have to do. Something tells me that Maw Maw would be just as happy to see these beets on my table as the ones she prepared.

While I wasn't a fan of beets when I was younger I did always love their crimson hue. I can remember how they would stain my fingertips, and sometimes I'd even rub them across my little lips, pretending to put on lipstick. (It was a quick and dirty way to get around Mama's no-makeup-until-you're-older rule.) Back then their earthy fragrance and their pure-spring taste weren't qualities that interested me. Now I understand the attraction to these colorful orbs. They're pure nature. They taste of mornings in the garden and sun-kissed afternoons. They taste of hard work and dirt under your nails. And they're exactly the kind of treat I expected to find when I signed up for a CSA box.

I found with this salad that maple syrup, orange juice, goat cheese and beets are a wonderful combination. And while I no longer use beets for makeup I was still happy to let them pass over my lips - and right to my tummy. This was a wonderful salad, and one I'll welcome to my table every spring.

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnut Salad

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnut Salad
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Printer-friendly version

In my salad I used walnuts and sunflower seeds, but you can of course use any nut you like best. I think pecans would be lovely. While this orange vinaigrette is quite good I'd also like to try this salad with a raspberry one, and perhaps add mandarin oranges as an accent.

3 to 4 medium-sized beets, unpeeled
Olive oil to rub on beets
1/3 cup walnut halves or pieces
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 bag salad greens
2 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub beets in olive oil, then cover each one in foil and place on a cookie sheet. Alternately, you can place each oil-rubbed, foil-covered beet in the cup of a muffin tin. Roast about an hour, or until you can easily pierce the flesh of each beet with a knife. Set aside to cool until you can handle them, then cut off top and bottom, and slide skins off. Chop and set aside. (Leftover beets can be stored in the refrigerator.)
2. Over medium heat, add nuts to skillet and toast until just brown. Do not walk away from the stove or you'll run the risk of burning and ruining your walnuts. Pour syrup over hot nuts and stir to combine. Remove skillet from heat and allow nuts to cool. When you can handle them pick them up, break them apart, and set aside. (Leftover nuts can be stored in an air-tight container.)
3. In a small bowl, whisk orange-juice concentrate, vinegar and oil.
4. Plate your greens. Top with nuts, beets and crumbled goat cheese. Pour dressing over salad and serve.


  1. Okay, that's it - I've been tempted by beets all season (or truly, even longer, ever since a friend of ours said it was his hands-down favorite food!) but had NO clue how to roast (or anything) them... and sure there's tutorials all over the interwebs but I needed a nudge from someone I can trust... and that's just what you provided! Perfect!
    Oh - and we love love salads with nuts... fresh salad and sweet and salty accents... YUM!

  2. I adore beets, especially roasted and you have done a fabulous job here! This reminds me of a recipe I made from The Travelers Lunchbox awhile back... http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/journal/2009/10/20/friends-beets-enemies.html

    So good! :D

  3. Hi Abby! It looks like you've been busy gardening too! We still have awhile for the corn. It's only about 1 1/2 feet tall now. We had to replant. The green beans are ready now and we dug potatoes yesterday (see my new blog post later today!)

  4. I love everything about this salad.Even as a kid I loved beets.

  5. Love most pickled foods. And beets oh lord. I love them in a bean salad especially. A recipe of my mama's.

  6. maple-syruped walnuts? and i'm done. :)

  7. I love beets and this salad looks just about perfect!

  8. Abby, guess what? I love salads and this sounds like an interesting AND yummy one! :)

    Happy Friday's Eve!

  9. One of these days I'm going to try beets again. I hated them as a kid, and have been promising myself that I'll try them again forever. I just need to do it!

  10. I make a similar salad all the time, it's my favorite! The only difference is that I don't add the OJ and I use pecans. I'll have to try it your way some time, it looks fantastic! Thank you for stopping by my blog and since you're a fellow Leo, Happy Birthday!


Like Thumper's mama told him: If you can't so something nice, don't say anything at all. Thanks, y'all.