Sometimes I get a little misty-eyed about my hubs. He loves and supports me in every way and he still makes me laugh after all these years. Plus – he grows me beets…and spinach, and kale, and tomatoes, and peppers, and cantaloup, and broccoli…the list goes on and on. His main garden is about 800 square feet, and he’s added on other sections of gardening space in the backyard for fun things like pumpkins and gourds. I get to reap the rewards of his labor and devotion to growing something beautiful, delicious and healthy. And this salad is all of that. The spinach we pulled fresh and roasted up the beets. There is nothing like fresh, organic produce right out your back door. I count my lucky stars that I’m married to this man. Did I mention he takes all the photos on this site? Yup – he does that, too.
Now these photos were taken early on with my food blogging obsession – and there is everything I would change about how to plate this salad – but alas, I wanted to post it anyway. Professional food bloggers are seeing all my mistakes…but ya got to start somewhere, right?
My husband grew lots of beets. I’m not kidding. The picture below is only a small sample of what we harvested.
Roasting the beets couldn’t be simpler. On a baking sheet, place a sheet of aluminum foil and put your cleaned beets on top, add a small amount of water to help the steaming process, seal up the foil and bake in the oven for about an hour, or until tender. When you pull them out, while they’re still warm, slip the skins off and you have this beautiful jewel.
The color is gorgeous. You can slice them now if you like, or wait until later. I usually slice them while warm. They save well in the frig like this if you put them in a tightly covered container. Yes, I know I don’t have gloves on – I’m not too fussy about that kind of thing. If you get your hands washed quickly, and I’m constantly washing my hands because they’re my favorite tools, then the beet juice will wash off. However, take care of your counters and clothes, if beet juice gets on the counter, wash it off immediately.
With our family’s specific taste, we like a bit of sweet in this salad, and also tang, and crunch. You can substitute the nectarine with any seasonal fruit, and swap out the goat cheese for whatever you prefer. The dressing is easy and I double the batch to save for next time, but you can also use a bottled balsamic dressing in a pinch. I do that all the time. If people judge me for using something bottled, then fine – judge away.
If you haven’t tried a beet salad then I hope you give it a try!
Roasted Beet & Spinach Salad with Nectarines, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Dressing
- 3 or 4 beets (depending on the size) & a splash of water
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 balsamic vinegar (maybe a splash more)
- Minced garlic to taste
- 2 teaspoons sugar (I like brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 bunch of freshly washed & dried spinach or your favorite leafy green. (I love my salad spinner – a fabulous gadget)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup roasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts (something crunchy)
- 1/2 cup chopped peach, or apple, or pear (something sweet)
- 3 ounces of goat cheese, or feta (something tangy)
- Turn on the oven to 400F
- Wash the beets and trim off the beet greens (this is a whole other recipe..beet greens are amazing.) Leave a bit of the stem (see picture). Wrap in aluminum foil, add a splash of water and bake for about an hour or until tender. While still warm, peel the skins and slice. Set aside.
- While the beets are roasting, make the dressing. Add all ingredients into a large jar with tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
- Prep the spinach or your greens.
- Just before serving, in a large bowl add the greens, the fruit and part of the cheese and part of the nuts. Drizzle some dressing and toss. Top the salad with the remaining fruit, nuts and cheese and drizzle a bit more dressing right on top.