Salad with Beets, Walnuts, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Reduction
This is one of my favorite salads. It’s great to make if you have some leftover cooked beets, but even if not, roasting the beets takes only about 20 minutes. I love how the sweetness of the beets tastes against the tart, tanginess of goat cheese. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad at the end…yum!
Ingredients (for 2 main-course salads)
For the salad:
2 medium-large (2 1/2 in. diameter) cooked beets, cubed or cut into wedges
1 bunch greens, torn into bite-sized pieces (I use a small bunch of kale, but you could use any kind of salad greens you like; just use enough for two servings)
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 of a 4-oz. log of goat cheese, crumbled (roughly 4 tbsp)
For the dressing:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
pinch each of salt and pepper
For the balsamic reduction:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
To cook the beets:
There are 2 ways I like to cook beets — baking or roasting.
To bake the beets, cut off the greens (if they’re attached) and leave about an inch of stem above the beet. Place the whole beets, skin still on, in an 8×8 baking pan. Fill with water just so it covers the whole bottom of the pan, then cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork (you kind of just have to check; it will take more or less time depending on the size of your beets.) Once the beets come out of the oven, let them sit with the foil still covering the pan for about 15 minutes. Then, remove the foil and peel the beets – the skins should be so loose that you can just slip them easily off. Be prepared for your hands to get really, really bright pink – it washes off afterwards! Cut up the peeled beets into 1/2 inch cubes.
Or, to roast the beets, cut off the greens and peel the skins off the beets with a vegetable peeler. Cut the raw peeled beets into 1/2 inch chunks, toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and place them on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, until the beet chunks are tender.
To assemble the salad:
First, get the balsamic reduction going. Place 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the vinegar has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes (should yield about 1 tbsp.) Turn off heat and set aside until your salads are ready.
In the bottom of a large bowl, make the dressing by whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add washed (and spun dry) greens of your choice directly to the bowl (on top of the vinaigrette). Using a large spoon, toss the greens with the vinaigrette. Divide the dressed greens among two plates.
Now, top your greens with the beets, crumbled goat cheese, and walnuts.
Finally, drizzle your balsamic reduction over the tops of the salads.