Beet, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Salad

Though I (really) love greens, a salad without them can be a refreshing change. Beet, goat cheese, and walnut salad is a tried-and-true combo and one of my favorites for a simple, seemingly #fancy side that takes just minutes to make. The most challenging part of this dish is roasting the beets without dyeing your entire kitchen red. But we'll help with that.

 Beet, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Salad | Gluten-Free and Paleo. | Loveleaf Co.

Buying fresh beets (leaves and all) is the most economical way to enjoy them, but to save time you can purchase vacuum-packed cooked beets in the produce section of the grocery store. If you opt to go the fresh route, here are some tricks to keep your kitchen (and your hands) their original color:

  • After washing and wrapping the beets in foil, roast the wrapped beets on a baking tray in the oven. That way, any drips will be caught.
  • Once cooked, peel the beets under cool running water. This keeps the red juice from getting everywhere. 
  • To slice the beets, lay a piece of parchment paper over your cutting board. Then simply toss the parchment paper when you're done.

For this beet, goat cheese, and walnut salad, I used this balsamic honey vinegar from Honey Ridge Farms. This vinegar is one of my favorites because of its simplicity; just a drizzle of the honey vinegar with a drizzle of olive oil make a delicious dressing (no recipe required!). For this salad, I added a little mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper to punch up the flavor while keeping it quick and easy.

This salad is a colorful side dish that works well for entertaining (no wilting to worry about!). But my favorite way to use this salad is as a base for a bowl meal (...are you surprised?). Just pair the beet, goat cheese, and walnut salad with a grain, like quinoa, and a simple protein, like roast chicken, and you've got yourself a nourishing lunch or dinner.

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Salad | Gluten-Free and Paleo. | Loveleaf Co.

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Salad

INGREDIENTS

THE SALAD

  • 3 large beets (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roasted (see notes)
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup parsley or cilantro leaves

BALSAMIC HONEY DRESSING

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms balsamic honey vinegar (or use 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar plus 1 teaspoon honey instead)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Roast the beets. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice off the beet leaves. Wash the beets thoroughly (no need to dry) and then wrap each individual beet loosely in foil. Transfer the wrapped beets to a baking sheet and roast for 45 - 55 minutes, checking every 20 minutes, until a fork slides easily to the middle of the beet. Allow the beets to cool enough to handle. Under cool running water, peel the skin off of the beets.

  2. Line your cutting board with parchment paper for easy clean-up (optional). Thinly slice the beets crosswise into 1/8 inch thick rounds.
  3. Make the dressing. Add all ingredients to a small jar and shake until thoroughly mixed. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Assemble. Arrange beet slices on a platter. Sprinkle with roasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing and top with parsley or cilantro leaves.

NOTES

I like to use a mix of red and yellow beets for this dish. To save time, you can buy precooked beets in the produce aisle of the grocery store.

To roast the walnuts, spread them evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. Nuts roast quickly, so set a timer! Remove and give the nuts a good shake. Return to the oven and roast for another 3 minutes (again, use a timer!) and remove from oven. You want the nuts to be a few shades darker and smell toasted. If they need more time, put back in the oven for 2-3 more minutes. Nuts usually take about 8-10 minutes (total) to roast. Immediately remove the nuts from the baking sheet and allow to cool completely on a plate.