This month’s 5 Star Makeover challenge was beets. This time I was inspired by my earliest memories of beets. For much of my childhood, beets were nothing more than an incredibly foreign and scary looking ingredient on salad bars. My grandmother would always load them onto her plate along with other ingredients I loathed at the time like mushrooms and chickpeas. And I, being ever so picky, would scrunch my nose, unable to understand their appeal.
Now beets are one of the many foods I’ve grown to appreciate over the years. I’m especially smitten with using them in vegetarian sandwiches like my. I thought it would be fun to do my own take on a salad with beets. I paired mine with crisp apples and pistachios for crunch and some cooked quinoa to make the salad more filling. I dressed it in a simple vinaigrette and crumbled a generous amount of goat cheese on top.
Serves 4 as a side dish
-1 bunch of beets
-1/4 cup honey
-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
-1 tablespoon minced shallot
-1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon apple cider vinegar
-2 teaspoons olive oil
-1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
-1 cup chopped apples
-1/4 cup pistachios
-4 ounces chevre, fresh goat cheese
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly wash the beets, including the greens. Separate the beets from their greens by cutting them with a knife and wrap the beets in tinfoil. Place them in the preheated oven and roast until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork. (The amount of actual cooking time will vary depending on the size of the beet. I originally began roasting them using Simply Recipes’ method, which calls for checking on the beets every 15 minutes after the one hour mark and I’ve found this to be pretty reliable.)
While the beets are roasting, chop the beet greens. Steam the beet greens until tender. (I use a steamer insert inside a large pot of simmering water.)
Once the beets have finished roasting and are tender, peel them and cut into a dice. Set aside and make the dressing by blending together the honey, mustard, shallot, vinegar, and olive oil in a blender or small food processor until the dressing has emulsified and is well combined.
To finish the salad, lightly mix together the beets, beet greens, quinoa, apples and pistachios with the dressing. Top with crumbles of the goat cheese and serve.