Roasted beet salad with feta cheese

Just beet it

Originally appeared in the December 15, 2011 edition of the Southside Times.

Please allow me to preface this “Get Cooking” installment with this: beets are painfully underrated.  And I’m not talking about the pickled, out-of-the-can variety.  I’m talking about a hearty, fresh-from-the-soil root vegetable.  Beets are sweet, versatile, and their vibrant color has a particularly pleasing aesthetic.  Okay—now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about this dish.  Read more:At first glance, this recipe may look like a wintery side dish.  But while the latter is certainly true, this works really well as a warm salad.  Because beets have the tendency to “bleed,” be sure to give them plenty of space when roasting.  In fact, you want to make sure you divide your vegetables into three distinct sections on the sheetpan.  The vegetables are sweet, the feta lends a bit of saltiness, and the orange delivers a citrus fragrance to the tart vinaigrette.  And with the carrot, parsnip, and beets layered over each other, the seasonal contrast of orange, white, and purple is pleasing to the eye.

This salad can served as a stand-alone dish, but it also pairs well with a savory entrée.  Either way, give this noble root vegetable its dues—beets are an unbeatable underdog.

Roasted beet salad with feta

Serves 3 – 4

  • 16 ounces baby carrots, peeled, tops attached and trimmed
  • 4 small beets, scrubbed and trimmed, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 medium-sized parsnip, peeled, cubed
  • Zest from ½ of an orange, and juice from same orange
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (plus more for garnish)
  • As needed, crumbled feta cheese
  • To taste, kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Pinch, granulated sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 425° F.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, and blanch carrots briefly (about 5 minutes).  Drain them, allow to cool, and coat with a small amount of olive oil; set aside.  On a greased and foil-lined sheetpan, place beets in one section, parsnips in another, followed by the carrots (the vegetables should be separated).  Place in oven and roast.

2.  Meanwhile, make vinaigrette: in a bowl, combine orange juice, zest, mustard, thyme, and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until mixture has emulsified.  Set aside.

3.  When parsnips are tender, remove from sheetpan and place in a bowl.  Do the same for the carrots when they are fork-tender; place them in the same bowl as the parsnips.  After 35 – 45 minutes, remove beets and place in a separate bowl.  Toss all vegetables with vinaigrette before combining in a large serving bowl.  Garnish with desired amount of crumbled feta and remaining thyme.

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