give beets a chance

I’m not sure if all CSA’s do this, but at mine you can change out something you don’t want.  You put what you don’t want in a bin and you can take something else, but only from that same bin.  This week, the “reject bin” had nothing but beets in it.  Wow! I thought, OK, I’m going to make this work.  It’s only three beets.  And so I brought them home and got to work searching recipes.  I have had two beet experiences in my life:  one positive and one negative.

The negative is a memory I have of eating beets as a child, offered to me by my parents, that were pickled to death.  They were so vinegar-y and sour!  Yuck!

The positive is a salad at my local Houlihan’s, the “prime steak and lettuce wedge”.  It is  was undeniably my favorite because of the mixtures of tastes and textures.  It’s got a lettuce wedge with ranch dressing, golden beets, polenta crouton, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, a slice of some sort of delicious cheese and the juiciest petite fillet.

One day, I checked the nutritional facts for this salad and (although I probably knew this in the deep recesses of my brain) found out that it is one of the most unhealthiest salads you can order out anywhere.  At more than 1300 calories and 114 grams of fat (yes, there’s no decimal in there-it’s 114, not 11.4!), I couldn’t bring myself to order it again.  Ever.  I guess that really makes it a positive, then a negative memory.  So make that two negative beet experiences, although it wasn’t the beets that made this salad unhealthy.

Beets, besides being naturally sweet and dense, are high in magnesium, vitamin C, and fiber.  One web site I visited wondered if “beet juice would be the craze of the future”.  That post was written in 2009 so… no, I would have to say that here in 2011 it is not the juice craze of the present.  This recipe is light and tasty.  I believe it would be good with a bit of chopped sweet onion added, as well.  It was wonderful on the greens from the CSA, and I have sooooo many greens each week that even if I had a salad every day I couldn’t finish them up (but I’m trying!).  Also, I found that if I managed a beet, some lettuce and a bit of cheese on the fork each bite, it was truly delicious combination!

Roasted Beet Salad

3 beets

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (sherry or tarragon would also be nice)

3 tsp. fresh chopped lemon basil and/or thyme (I have some growing in a pot on my deck, which I used)

pinch of sea salt

pinch of cracked black pepper

salad greens, wash and dried

one wedge garlic and herb Laughing Cow cheese (goat cheese or feta would be tasty, as well)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove stems and greens from beets.  Wash and scrub them.  Place beets in a small baking dish.  Fill the dish with about 1/2 inch water.  Cover and roast for about an hour or until beets are easy to pierce with a fork.  Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, rub off the skins or peel with a small paring knife.  Chop the beets into 1/2 inch cubes.

Prepare vinaigrette by placing the vinegar and herbs in a small bowl.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Pour over beets, place in refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Divide greens onto four serving plates.  Top each with equal portions of marinated beets (it is a good idea to gently stir the beets to mix the marinade that may have settled to the bottom of the bowl)  Cut wedges of Laughing Cow cheese , one per serving, into small dollops and place on top of greens and beets.

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3 responses to “give beets a chance

  1. I do love beets roasted and made into a salad of almost any kind. If the beets you are getting still have their green tops, sauté them in a little olive oil and garlic and top with the roasted beets.

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