Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Roasted Beet Salad

Beets are not exactly a sexy vegetable. Growing up, they were the root vegetable all kids loved to hate. To me they were a mysterious fluorescent bordering-on-gelatinous substance, and I couldn't decide whether to like them or not. As an adult, I've been lucky enough to have beets of various colors. I've had them roasted, raw, steamed, you name it. And I'm definitely a fan.

The trick is to have the real thing, not something out of a can or a jar. They're so easy to prepare, there's really no excuse. Plus it's fun to bring home a gnarly looking beast (because really, they are not so pretty in their natural state) and turn it into a beautiful crimson jewel to add to your salad, risotto, or any other dish. And you'll have pretty pink hands for the next 24 hours. Okay, so maybe you should wear gloves to avoid the fate I've just given myself.

I found
the inspiration for this salad in the new Cooking Light Complete Cookbook, but I added and subtracted at leisure and totally changed up the dressing, so I'll go ahead and claim this as one of my own. It's not a super filling salad, so you might want to have it as an appetizer or along with something bready.

Roasted Beet Salad
serves 2


4 beets
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 generous handfuls of mixed salad greens
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon quality balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon EVOO
salt and pepper


1. Prepare the beets: Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425. Chop off the greens (reserve them and cook them later in another dish), leaving one inch of stem. Leave the root intact. Put the beets on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool. Then chop off the root and rub off the peels. Chop the beets into bite-size chunks.

2. Prepare the dressing: Put parsley, honey, balsamic, EVOO, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a glass jar or salad shaker. Shake vigorously.

3. Assemble the salad: Put beets, celery, and salad greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with the salad dressing and toss.

Go ahead and be brave; try the beets. Who knew that something that is such a pretty color could occur in nature, AND be good for you?


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