They're nothing new, but I am still rather enamored of the pre-cooked, shrink-wrapped beets you can buy in the grocery store. I first encountered them a few years ago at Fairway in Brooklyn, but living in Estonia they're ubiquitous in every shop in town (along with potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetable). I'm not talking about the canned and jarred beets, those pickled slices that almost ruined the vegetable for me. Just sweet, fresh beets that don't require an hour of roasting or a long boil.
For me a salad is supposed to be an easy dinner that doesn't require firing up the oven, so a big advantage is using them in salads. This recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis, pairing the beets with the usual goat cheese and walnuts but not-so-usual avocado. The dressing is especially interesting, a combination of shallots, balsamic, oil, and honey. Over peppery arugula, the honey accents the beet's sweetness.
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 6 medium cooked beets
- 6 cups baby arugula, or normal arugula roughly torn
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted then coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
- 1/2 avocado, pitted and cubed
- 3 ounces goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
Whisk together vinegar, shallots, and honey in a bowl, then whisk in the oil slowly to make a vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If using raw beets, quarter and toss in the vinaigrette and roast until cooked and gently caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Toss arugula, walnuts, cranberries, and cooked beets in remaining vinaigrette. Arrange on plates, top with avocado and crumbled goat cheese, and serve.