I was a little nervous about this one. I’ve never made roasted beets before. Believe me, I’ve eaten my share of beets – just not roasted. Everything else in the recipe was straightforward though, so that’s good. And as it ends up, preparing beets this way is a snap. Lesson learned.
The entire process of cooking and softening beets takes about an hour. You’ll need to trim both ends off of them, clean them with some scrubbing, coat them in olive oil, salt and pepper and then bake them for an hour. When they come out of the oven and have cooled off, you can grip each beet with your fingertips and squeeze. Since the skins have virtually separated from the interior, the skin slips right off. I do encourage you to make sure the beet has cooled sufficiently before you try this because burning your fingertips is not fun.
Laura and I enjoyed this for dinner last night as a light meal. If you decide to go ahead with it, I suggest you use it as just a salad. Although it’s definitely filling and can be eaten as a main course, I would have preferred to eat less of it and store the remaining salad for tonight and perhaps even tomorrow night. It was tasty though and Laura said she really liked it. I only wish we had more of it.
Roasted beets are awesome. They have gone on my mental list to make again. I didn’t know preparing them was so simple and I can see future variations. The cooking method is slick and since I’m into showing off, I think cooking them in front of someone would earn me some kitchen cred. It’s the peeling of the skins that does it. Oh yeah – it’s also the seasoning with salt and pepper.
This salad has a lot going on. Anything with tarragon, toasted pecans and crumbled goat cheese is up there on my favorites list. Add to that a nice vinaigrette and we’ve got ourselves a legit dish.
For the Beets & Quinoa
2 Pounds of Beets No Larger than 2 Inches Across (Trimmed and Scrubbed)
Regular Olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper
1 Cup Quinoa
For the Salad & Vinaigrette
3 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sweet Onion, Finely Chopped
3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Dried Tarragon
Ground Black Pepper
4 Cups Red Lettuce, Trimmed into Small Pieces
1 Fennel Bulb, Trimmed, Cored and Shaved
1/2 Cup Pecans, Toasted
4 Ounces Goat Cheese, Crumbled
Before I go any further, I’d like to thank Curtis Stone and his cookbook titled Good Food, Good Life for this recipe. While I adjusted and changed a few small things, his recipe was my inspiration. Curtis is awesome.
Arrange your oven racks so one is in the center position. Then, turn on the heat to 350 degrees.
Roast the Beets
Trim both ends from the beets. Then, wash them thoroughly. After that, place them in an oven safe dish and drizzle some regular olive oil over them. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt and pepper on them as well. Roll the beets around so they are thoroughly coated.
Next, tightly cover the dish with aluminum foil and place the beets into the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The beets will be finished when they are slightly tender and you can easily push a fork into them.
When done, remove the dish from the oven and allow the beets to cool for about 15 minutes.
Cook the Quinoa
Warm a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat on your stove top. Add 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil to the pot and then add the quinoa. Mix and cook for about 3 minutes to lightly toast the quinoa.
After 3 minutes, add 1 2/3 cups of water and bring to a boil. When the water begins to boil, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and let cook for 20 minutes. When the quinoa is finished, turn off the heat and uncover the pot. Allow the quinoa to full cool.
Make the Vinaigrette
In a small bowl, add the vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, sweet onion and the tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Marinade the Beets
Once the beets have cooled sufficiently, take each one and squeeze slightly with your fingertips. When doing this, you should notice the skin begin to move. Keep squeezing until the skin begins to slide off. Peel each beet until there is no skin left. Discard the waste.
After the beets have been peeled, cut each one into wedges and place them into a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to the beets and mix until everything is coated well.
Make the Salad
In a large bowl, add the red lettuce and the fennel. Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette as well and toss until everything in the bowl is well coated.
Toast the Pecans
Warm a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil to the pan. Then, add the pecans and a pinch of salt and mix until the pecans begin to brown. When they brown sufficiently, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Pecans burn quickly, so be careful with this step.
Assemble the Dish
Divide the quinoa between 4 large plates. Top it with the red lettuce salad and then with the beets. Sprinkle the pecans over the beets and then the goat cheese over that. Finally, divide the remaining vinaigrette between the plates and serve.
The Final Salad
I think this dish has the potential to impress friends and family, so you may want to consider it when having guests. It’s tasty and it looks great.