Growing up, there were a multitude of foods I didn’t think I liked, mostly due to watching my favorite cartoon characters’ reactions to being force to eat these foods. Brussel sprouts: gross! Turnips: no way! Liver: gag! And beets, I’m quite sure I turned several shades of green if anyone tried to get me to eat beets.
I remember the first time I ever had this root vegetable. I was brunching in Seattle with a dear friend, whose taste in food is unsurpassable and who I trust unequivocally to blindly order for me. As we typically do when dining together, we ordered several items and split everything. The café’s beet salad, he said, was to die for, and we HAD to order it. I plastered an excited grin on my face, trying to conceal the fact that I had become faintly queasy.
I remember bracing myself when I took that first bite, which turned out to be completely unnecessary. Shockingly, I loved beets. Not just loved. LOVED! They now make regular appearances in my kitchen. While you can eat them raw, I like to roast them for 20-30 minutes (depending on their size) to start caramelizing the sugars, giving them a slightly sweeter flavor without taking away the fun, crunchy texture. I always cook several beets at a once. They can be stored either whole or sliced for up to 2 weeks. They are a great addition to salads and smoothies, to brighten up boring side dishes, pickled. I’ll even eat them plain.
This iteration of a beet salad is one of my favorite ways to eat beets. Despite how simple it is to prepare, the complexity of the flavors are anything but simple. By stirring a little bit of honey into the goat cheese, you not only accentuate the sweet, earthy beet flavor, but the tangy balsamic vinegar flavor.
Beet and Honeyed Goat Cheese Salad
- 1 large beet, or 2 small beets (can be either golden or red)
- 1/4 cup goat cheese, room temperature
- 1 tsp honey
- balsamic vinegar
1. Turn your oven to 375° F.
2. If your beets are untrimmed, cut the greens so that only one inch of the stalk remains. Do not cut into the beet; you don’t want the juice to leak out when you cook it.
3. Roast beet(s) for 20-30 minutes. The smaller the beets, the shorter the time in the oven.
4. Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool (approximately 20 minutes). Peel beets with a paring knife. Cut into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on a plate.
5. Using either a spoon or a fork, incorporate the honey and goat cheese. Glob or crumble onto beets.
6. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.
Note: If you make extra honeyed goat cheese, it will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks, or in the freezer for several month. It goes great with toast and jelly, on top of salads, with roasted vegetables, etc. Get creative!