Beets are a sweet spring vegetable that can be eaten either roasted, boiled or raw. Roasting is my preferred method of cooking beets either in foil, or sliced and peeled on a sheet pan. If cooked in foil, the beet skin becomes easy to remove, while the interior becomes moist and tender – ready to slice. Roasting beets on a sheet pan, offers a slightly different experience – a crispy outer shell with a soft center.
Roasting Golden Beets, instead of red beets is a nice change of pace because these light golden vegetables are more mild in taste, yet still sweet like you would expect. I think they are an easier varietal to prepare for roasting because they don’t stain your fingers and cutting board like the red ones do, yet still completely delicious.
In this salad, there is a sweet and crunchy combination of flavors starting with the roasted beets and tossing them with fresh greens and toasted hazelnuts. Ricotta Salata, a dried ricotta cheese, provides a shredded salty kick to this delightful salad mix, making this one wonderful meal.
3 large Golden beets
1/2 cup hazelnuts, mostly skinned
3 ounces Ricotta Salata cheese (you can find at most specialty grocery or Italian markets)
3 cups mixed greens
1/2 shallot, minced
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil or sunflower oil + more for roasting
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and scrub beets and place them in foil with a drizzle of olive oil. Wrap foil tightly around beets and place them in oven to roast for about , or until fork tender.
2. Remove beets from oven and open foil to cool completely before handling. When beets are cool enough to handle, remove skin with a paring knife. Cut beets in half and cut each half into 6 wedges.
3. Place beets in a bowl and place in refrigerator to chill, while preparing vinaigrette. In a small jar, add minced shallot, Dijon mustard and vinegar to jar. Add olive oil and add a pinch of salt & pepper. Place lid on jar and shake until creamy in color.
4. Place hazelnuts in a small skillet over medium heat to toast for 5 minutes. Remove nuts from skillet and place them on a cutting board with a kitchen towel around edges, so they don’t roll off. Coarsely chop toasted nuts and grate Ricotta Salata.
5. Toss greens, with beets, hazelnuts and cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve. Enjoy!