Spinach, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Beets are a new love of mine. When I was little, I found them overwhelmingly “earthy”, a.k.a. I thought they tasted like dirt. As I’ve grown a tad older, I find that their sweetness stands out more and more. I’ve been seeing a lot of beet salads on menus lately, so I wanted to try my own take on the concept – and take advantage of my new love of this sweet veg!

To start, I found 2 different types of beets – the standard red, and a gorgeous golden kind. It’s funny how a little variety, even just in colour, can spruce things up a bit! I took off both ends of the beets – remember to always do the golden beets first so you don’t stain them! Alternatively, you could use two sets of cutting boards and knives… if you don’t mind the extra dishes!

My favourite way to cook beets is to roast them – but to contain all that colourful juice, I keep them separate by drizzling each with some olive oil and wrapping them in aluminum foil. So often, a bunch of beets comes with a wide variety of sizes – wrapping them individually allows me to pull each out when it’s perfectly done. I put them in at 375F and pulled them out when a knife pierced them easily – anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.

While the beets are roasting, I prepared the vinaigrette. I poured a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a jar, then added lemon juice to equal about a 3:1 ratio. I added a pinch of garlic powder, a small squirt of honey and a grind of pepper.

With the lid on, a quick shake emulsifies it all.

I let the beets cool just long enough until I could handle them, then peeled them. If you’ve roasted them well, the skins will just slip off with a bit of a push from your fingertips. Otherwise, you may need some help from a paring knife.

I sliced each beet into quarters or eighths, depending on how big they were. Again, I did the golden ones first to avoid staining them with the juice from the red ones.

In a small bowl, I tossed a handful of baby spinach with enough vinaigrette to coat it lightly. I laid the wedges of beet over the spinach, then crumbled goat cheese over top. I finished it off with a grind of salt and pepper.

I served this with some (very rare!) steak for an awesome dinner, and took it to work as lunch for the next couple days. It was a really nice change from my regular lunch – light, fresh, and full of iron!

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