Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

beet salad, goat cheese, watercress

As you may have guessed, beets hold a
special place in my heart.  They seem to
perfectly epitomize the ideal vegetable – versatile, delicious, overflowing with
nutrients, and beautiful to boot!  Beets are
truly a superfood.

Beets are best known nutritionally for their high
antioxidant levels, many vitamins and minerals, and support of the
cardiovascular system.  They are a rich
source of glycine betaine, which has been shown to lower homocysteine levels
within the blood.  High levels of homocysteine
in the blood promotes platelet clots and plaque formation, which can cause
stroke and coronary heart disease.

One of my favorite ways to eat them is in this simple
salad.

beet salad ingredients, fresh beets, radicchio, goat cheese, garlic
Beet Salad Ingredients
1 bunch of fresh beets (greens removed and saved for later use)
1 head of radicchio
½ small log of plain goat cheese
¼ cup of toasted walnuts
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

I like this salad best when it’s made with beets brought
straight home from your garden or the farmers market, but it also works with
winter beets that have been sitting in your crisper for months (beets in the
bottom drawer of the fridge are a staple in my house).  In this case, I bought a beautiful bunch of
beets from a local farm stand in the Cotswolds, UK.

Wash your beets, remove their green tops, and dice them into bite-sized pieces.
Steam the beets for about 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through
and easy to pierce with a fork.

beets, goat cheese
While the beets are steaming, assemble the rest of your
ingredients.  Chop the radicchio into
small pieces – this is important because radicchio has a slightly bitter flavor
(this flavor is the perfect complement to the sweet beets).  Use a garlic press to mince the cloves of
garlic and add them to the mixing bowl with the radicchio, followed by the
crumbled goat cheese on top.

toasted walnuts, beet salad topping
The walnuts are best in this dish (and many other dishes!)
when they have been lightly toasted.  I
used the last of the walnuts I collected this spring in France and they were
perfect.  Add the chopped walnuts to a
dry pan on medium-high heat.  Stir
regularly for 3 – 4 minutes until you can see the walnuts getting toasted and
they become fragrant.  Turn off the heat
and let them sit in the warm pan until you are ready to use them.

steamed beets
When the beets are finished cooking, drain them and add them hot to the mixing bowl of assembled ingredients.  Toss in the walnuts and cover the whole thing
with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss.  The goat cheese should melt as it is heated
from the beets and coat everything with a light layer of cheese (it also turns
an amazing pink color).

beet salad
I served the salad warm on a bed of fresh watercress, which
was a delicious combination.  It also
makes a great leftover when eaten cold the next day.  Enjoy!

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