Beets have got be one of the most underused root veggies. Their sweet pink flesh is often relegated to pickle jars and their versatility is ignored. Your hands will be stained redder than Lady Macbeth’s by the time you finish preparing this dish, but I assure you it is worth it. Roasting the beets will give these jewel bright beauties a caramelized sweetness which pairs well with creamy goat cheese and an acidic vinaigrette. My Roasted Beet Salad is deceptively simple and elegant. Perfect for lunches or as a side for roasted meats.

Ingredients:

4 large beets, washed but unpeeled

½ cup toasted walnuts

¼ cup crumbled goat cheese (feta, blue cheese; all of these pair well depending on your palate)

½ clove garlic, finely diced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tsp Honey

2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill or parsley depending on taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Warm up the barbecue, or preheat you oven to 450 degrees Celsius. If you are doing the beets on the grill put them on the top rack and rotate them as they cook to get an even char on the exterior skin. In the oven wrap the beets individually in tin foil and place on the rack. Both methods take about 45-60 minutes for the beets to become tender depending on their size.
  2. While the beets are roasting mince your garlic and dill and combine them with your oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper (Hint: it is best to do this in a mason jar so you can shake the dressing to emulsify it). Set dressing in the fridge so the flavors can mingle.
  3. When the beets are finished roasting they should be tender when poked with a knife or fork. The skin should now peel off easily leaving you with a delicious, jewel bright beet to cut into cubes. Be careful to give them a few minutes to cool down to avoid burning your fingers.
  4. Allow the beet cubes to cool and add the toasted walnuts, cheese and dressing right before serving (this prevents them from becoming stained pink with beet juice).

Tip: Save your beet greens. They are great when added to soups, salads, stir fries, sautés and green smoothies. Most of the ingredients for this recipe can be found at the Peterborough Farmer’s Market. Check it out on Wednesdays at The Louis St. Lot on Charlotte and Aylmer and Saturdays at Morrow Park.