The only thing better than a salad topped with fresh beets, tangy goat cheese and candied nuts is a Beet and Goat Cheese Salad made with beets and lettuce grown in your own garden and harvested the same day. You can’t get any fresher than that!
Not only is this salad drool worthy, it’s also an artistic masterpiece. By using a variety of beet types, the different colours explode on your plate. We all eat with our eyes so combining bright greens with deep red beets, other coloured beets, and dark sweet maple balsamic dressing, it’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost. And those candied pecans……
The beets need to be cooked first and chilled. You can roast them in the oven or boil them. The best thing about very fresh beets is you don’t really need to peel them but once they’re boiled or roasted the skins literally slip right off. I prefer to boil beets for 2 reasons. First, you can keep an eye on them so when you can slide a sharp knife into the centre easily, they’re done. And secondly, who wants to heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven?
Well, you do need to turn it on to roast the nuts. I use pecans but walnuts are also excellent in this salad. Simply spread some nuts on a sheet of foil or parchment, drizzle with maple syrup (the real stuff!!), stir them around a bit to make sure they’re well coated, then roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them. When you see the syrup caramelizing and the pecans starting to brown, take them out. Once they’re cool you’ll be able to break them off the foil. They will be sticky at first but they harden when cooled. You can use pecan halves or pieces.
Goat cheese has a tanginess that pairs well with sweet beets and caramelized nuts. I’ve used honey goat cheese which is slightly sweeter than regular goat cheese and works well with the ingredients. And it may be a better option if you’re serving Beet and Goat Cheese Salad to someone who doesn’t love goat cheese.
Use your imagination when styling the salad. If you’re using plain red beets, you can cut them into quarters, slices or any shape you prefer. I love the spiral interior beets so plating with slices shows off that awesome inside.
A simple Maple Balsamic Dressing is perfect for this salad. It’s the same dressing that’s used in Spinach Salad with Maple Roasted Pecans and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Here’s the recipe:
Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
- 8 cups fresh lettuce greens
- 4 medium sized beets use a variety of colour for best presentation
- 60 grams goat cheese
- ¼ cup pecans, halves or pieces or walnuts
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp lime juice
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- Spread pecans on foil and top with 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Stir to ensure nuts are coated well. Roast at 350 for 10-15 minutes until syrup is bubbling and nuts are browning. Cool before removing nuts from foil.
- Meanwhile, roast or boil beets until sharp knife can be inserted through the largest beet. Drain, rinse with cool water and peel when cool enough to handle. Chill.
- Prepare vinaigrette by whisking together all ingredients.
- Prepare salad by plating lettuce in one large bowl or 4 separate plates. Top with sliced beets, chunks of goat cheese and roasted nuts. Drizzle dressing over top right before serving.