Monday, July 12, 2010

The Feel Good Vegetable: Roasted Beet Salad

There was not a single shred of lettuce in our CSA box this week.  Cabbage, chard, but no lettuce.  This makes me ridiculously, inexplicably happy.  Now, I can finally start making the sorts of summer salads that Mark Bittman writes about.

I remember making this one back at our old apartment in Princeton.  Why I decided to purchase and roast beets, I'm not sure, because my only contact with beets as a child was the pickled kind that my mother used to get in a jar, and they were not exactly my favorite; they fell into the same category as red cabbage.  But something changed the first time I roasted them.  Perhaps I discovered the aphrodesiac properties of beets (S. and I still joke about this sometimes and ask if the other one of us has been eating beets; apparently, the juice is a rich source of boron, which plays an important role in the production of human sex hormones.  The lore about beets goes back to ancient Roman times, but Field Marshal Montgomery is reputed to have exhorted his troops to 'take favours in the beetroot fields', a euphemism for visiting prostitutes.  Who knew, right?).  Or maybe I just realized that they could taste good without all of that vinegar.

Either way, this particular salad highlights the sweetness of summer beets (which, admittedly, look like tomatoes in these pictures; they're an heirloom variety, and there are streaks of yellow and orange in them that make them look quite lovely).  It would be ideal if you could get some crisp pears to use here, because part of the appeal of the salad is the tension between sweet and spice, and between crunch and melt, but you are likely to have a hard time finding such a thing at this time of year, so just do the best you can.  And if you suddenly start feeling really good, you'll know why.

Roasted Beet Salad

2  beets (about 3/4 pound)
1  c. diced Asian pear or ripe pear
1/4  c. diced celery
2  T. chopped pistachios
3  T. fresh lemon juice
1  T. honey
1/2  t. brown sugar (optional, depending on how sweet your beets are)
1/4  t. black pepper
Dash of salt
Dash of ground red pepper
2  curly leaf lettuce leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°.
Leave root and 1 inch of stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place beets in a small baking dish. Bake at 425° for 50 minutes or until tender. Cool. Trim off beet roots; rub off skins. Dice beets.
Combine beets, pear, celery, and pistachios in a medium bowl.
Combine juice and next 5 ingredients (juice through red pepper), stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle over beet mixture, tossing gently to coat.
Serve at room temperature or chilled on lettuce leaves, if desired.
Pin It


  1. Oh! This looks like my kind of salad! What is it with Americans and not liking beets? They're beautiful. I have them all year round. It's winter here, so I bake them with a little lemon juice, a little olive oil, and a lot of garlic. Sometimes some lemeon zest too. I usually do a lot as they're just beautiful and are great as leftovers - either just reheated to in a salad of some sort.

  2. Oh man that looks delicious... ohhh... put some in a burrito or on a tostada.

  3. tasivfer, you probably have pears, too! Perfect. I always forget how northern-hemisphere-centric I am. :)

    and K, yes, we've been wrapping everything (including PB&J) in whole wheat tortillas here this week. It's the boy's new (again) obsession. No accounting for the food rules of younguns, is there ...

  4. I have to thank you for turning me on to beets - after I had them at your house we roasted some at the in-laws (and by "we" I mean the husband). They were almost as fantastic as yours. Thank you! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...