I have mentioned it before in a few other beet recipes, but it’s worth mentioning again. I love beets. Like can’t get enough, have to order them on the menu if I see them kind of love. For a long time though, I never cooked beets at home – they were a restaurant delicacy. I thought they took took too long to prepare, and that the mess and purple stains were too much hassle. I was wrong.
I have tried a number of different ways to cook beets in the past – boiling, steaming, roasting, wrapped in foil – the works. I’ve seen Ashley mention this dutch oven method a few times recently, so I thought I’d give it a try. It is so simple and convenient – just set a timer and come back in an hour or so. Paired with tangy red onion, bitter walnuts, and a bright dressing – this salad is a perfect summer side dish.
Roasted Beet & Walnut Salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Ingredients (4-6 servings)
5-6 large beets, washed and trimmed
1 large red onion
1/2 cup walnut pieces
For the Dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse ground mustard
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim beets greens so that there is about an inch of the stems remaining on top (in order to preserve the moisture of the beets). Don’t trim the long tails, no matter how tempting it might be.
Give the beets a good scrub to remove all dirt, and then add to a heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to rub the oil into the beets.
Place in the oven (covered – with lid) and roast for at least an hour. At the hour mark, try inserting a knife into the beets to test for doneness. If it slides in easily, the beets are done. If there is any resistance, allow them to keep cooking. Beets are a tricky vegetable – it’s hard to predict how long they will need to cook. Depending in the size of your beets, it could take up to two hours (although mine only took one). Even though they take a long time to cook, it’s as easy as trim, wash, stick in the oven, set at timer, and go. Well worth the wait.
Once the beets are cooked, allow them to cool before handling. Once they are cool enough to pick up with your hands, transfer them to a plastic cutting mat. One of the great things about beets is their vibrant purple color, but be warned – the color leaks and stains! If you want to avoid purple fingers for a few days, consider wearing plastic gloves when you handle the beets. I just dove right in with my bare hands.
Once the beets are done, the skins should easily slip off. Peel them over a trashcan and remove all outer skins. The insides of the beets should be spongy, slippery, and shiny!
Cut the cooked beets into cubes or wedges, and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Peel and trim your red onion, and slice as thinly as possible (julienne). Add the onion to a sauté pan and cook until soft – about ten minutes. Another good option for this salad would be pickled red onion – yum! (You can also simply add the onion raw – I just personally don’t like it!)
Once cooked, add the onion to the bowl with the beets, and top with a half cup of walnut pieces. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour on top of salad. Season to taste with salt, and serve with your favorite sides! (Note: If you are a cheese fan, gorgonzola or goat cheese would both pair well with this!)
I plated this to take photos, and then ended up just eating it – I couldn’t wait for the rest of dinner to be ready! Washed it down with my favorite local Communi-Tea kombucha – delicious.
We had quite a bit leftover, so we ate it the next night too – paired with brown rice and a sauté of mushrooms, zucchini, and field roast veggie sausage. I love how beet dishes make a meal so vibrant and colorful!
Besides being beautiful and tasty, beets are also highly nutritious. They are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and if you save your beet greens you have another healthy vegetable on hand.
Roasted Beet & Walnut Salad by Daily Garnish
The only downside to making this dish? Cleaning the pot.
But I promise it’s still worth it. Enjoy!