Much like Dwight Schrute in The Office, beets are a bit divisive. Since most people associate beets with the canned mushy pickled things that were at every odd aunts’ table they are definitely a “love it/hate it” food and rarely in between. The fact is, fresh, roasted beets have NO resemblance to those canned pickled ones and I have seen many haters come around when they taste an actual fresh beet. If the plain, just-roasted beets don’t then this Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios certainly will bring them around.
How to Roast Beets
Roasting Beets is only slightly harder than roasting any other vegetable and that’s only because you have to peel them. The steps are easy:
- Scrub the beats under water then place in an oven proof dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.
- Drizzle the beets with olive oil and wrap tightly in foil.
- Roast for 35-45 minutes or until a paring knife goes in and out easily. (Large beets may take even longer.)
- Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle them then use your hands to rub peel off. (If you are using purple beets, you may want to wear gloves and an apron as they will discolor everything they touch.)
- Quarter, slice or cube depending on how you’re going to use them.
- They freeze great at this point. Just lay in a single layer on a parchment covered baking sheet then freeze completely. Transfer to a ziploc bag.
Varieties of Beets
While purple beets are the kind you see most often, there are actually several different colors of beets. The most common varieties you will find in higher end grocery stores are gold and purple as pictured above. At farmers markets you may see even more colors as beets are available in pink, white and even candystripe as seen below. (Chioggia is the name of these beets.) The all have a slightly sweet flavor and a hearty texture but while the purple beets are pretty earthy in flavor, the other colors are slightly less so.
Are Beets Good for You?
Besides eating them straight out of the pan or in this salad, roasted beets are a delicious spring side dish with fresh herbs and butter or a simple balsamic vinaigrette. (BTW, If you did like those pickled beets, this is the decidedly upscale version of them.) But regardless of how you eat them, you are getting a powerhouse of nutrients including folate, manganese, copper, fiber and potassium. Additionally, beets contain Betalains which supports detox functions in your body as well as lessening tumor growth in colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, prostate and testicular tissue. Overcooking destroys the betalains, however, so do not roast for more than 50 minutes.
Variations on Goat Cheese and Pistachios
If you don’t have or don’t like goat cheese, feel free to use chunks of parmesan or blue cheese. For Vegan, Paleo or Whole30, leave the cheese out altogether. You can also use any nuts in place of pistachios.
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios
1 lb beets
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Baby leaves of lettuce
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Scrub beets and place in a deep ovenproof dish in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover tightly with foil and roast for 35-45 minutes. When a paring knife can be inserted and removed easily, remove from oven.
- When cool enough to handle, rub off skins. (Use gloves with purple beets.)
- Slice the beets beginning with lighter colored beets first. Season the beets with sea salt and pepper.
- Layer the beets with baby lettuce leaves and drizzle with balsamic and extra virgin olive oil.
- Sprinkle goat cheese and pistachios around the salad just before serving.