This is a creamy, crunchy, sweet salad that has something for everyone. Roasted beets, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and goat cheese – all over a bed of mixed greens (or baby spinach if that’s what you have on hand). Then we top it over with a super simple honey balsamic vinaigrette made from ingredients you probably already have on hand. You’ll be eating this salad for days, it is that good.
A discovery of beets
I stumbled on beets as an adult. I never had them as a kid. Literally. I never had a beet. My mother was forced to eat beets as a kid. Remember the days when you were told you had to eat something? Remember how much you like that item now? You probably don’t serve it very much at your table. Well, that was beets for her. So, I never had a beet. I pretty much didn’t even know they existed. Then when I did learn of the beet, I knew to stay away like the plague.
I was introduced to beets through a friend from Georgia; her mother made this delicious dish that included some proprietary spice blend that I’m going to work on getting, walnuts, garlic, and boiled beets. We ate it on crackers and it was divine. I will have to make it for you all sometime. It was my introduction and subsequent gateway to an appreciation for beets for Eric and myself. We now enjoy beets on a regular basis.
So, when thinking of my next salad to make this time of year, it wasn’t hard once I stumbled into a bunch of beets in the grocery store. There they were, staring at me, the roasted beet salad was born. I couldn’t decide, golden beets or red beets – which to choose. Since we’re nearing Valentine’s Day I went with red beets, I figured it would be festive. The red and all. But you can go with either. Experiment with the flavors and report back please.
I then wanted to incorporate a little more sweetness so I turned to my faithful dried cranberries. They would provide the sweetness, but also a tartness. A nice balance all in one that would add to the salad, especially once the dressing was added – which we’ll get to momentarily.
Next up, cheese. Cheese isn’t always a must on a salad, but in this case it was. Creamy and delicious goat cheese won out. Blue cheese would have been overpowering for what I was going for, though to be honest it was my runner up. So, if you have a hankering for it experiment. The dressing and other ingredients should marry well with it. In any case, I went with goat cheese here. Subtle, creamy, rich goat cheese won me over. I could make a creamy beet sandwich if I wanted to on my fork – I couldn’t pass up the chance (and I did, several times).
Final decisions were the mixed greens and pecans, easy choices. Then I was onto the dressing. I knew I wanted to go with a balsamic vinaigrette (which I don’t think I will ever spell correctly on the first try). But, I wanted honey as well. I thought we needed a sweet element. After a few tries…violia! I found the perfect combination of ingredients, which were just a few ingredients – always the best way if you ask me – and here we are with the final product.
Now did you know that beets are native to the Mediterranean and Western Europe? I didn’t either, but they’ve been eaten for centuries, way back in Greece, dated to 300 BCE, according to On Food and Cooking, a treasure if you are in the market for a geeky foodie book.
I wanted to make sure the color of the beets was still rich and vibrant so I went with roasting in this case. I also preferred it for the flavor in this salad over boiling or raw. Raw I thought the beet might fly right off your plate and into your neighbors eye unless it was cut too small, or expertly skewered. Boiled I just wasn’t interested in – roasting it was. Boiling could work if you prefer it, or are not in a position to roast, just don’t over do it. You don’t want beet mush.
And that’s it folks, our deliciously simple salad awaits your making. The recipe time is all in the roasting. It’ll come together in a jiff after that so don’t be scared off. Have a nice conversation (via text of course) in the meantime and you’ll be eating this heaven in no time.
Let us know what you think in the comments, we love hearing from you!
Roasted Beets with Mixed Greens and Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Fresh cracked pepper
- 1 cup beets peeled and chopped into 1/4" thick wedges
- 4 cups mixed greens washed and dried (or baby spinach)
- 4 ounces goat cheese or use crumbles
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pecans chopped
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together to incorporate. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Prepare a sheet pan with foil and spray with oil. Place beet wedges on and place in the oven to roast for approximately 20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove and set aside.
- On individual plates or a large platter assemble the salad. Make a bed of greens, place the beets over top, then crumble the goat cheese over top. Next sprinkle the dried cranberries, and pecans.
- Serve with dressing on the side for your guests to apply as they would like to (give it a fresh whisk just before serving if needed).
- Walnuts would work as well.
- You can absolutely make this ahead and pop it in the fridge.