Monday, April 15, 2013

Roasted Red Beet Salad

There is a little Mediterranean cafe in town that makes a delicious beet salad that is sweet and tangy and minty and so refreshing! I have made it my mission to recreate that salad as best I can. I began by roasting the beets in a foil packet after they had been scrubbed and trimmed off the tops and bottom root. Four beets were drizzled with olive oil and coarse salt, then roasted in a 400 degree oven for an hour. That was yesterday. I took the packet out and let it cool, then I slipped the entire thing into a plastic bag so it wouldn't leak all over the refrigerator and let it chill overnight. 
This morning I researched some recipes in search of inspiration. I found one on the Food Network site for Roasted Beets with Lemon, so I mixed up their dressing in a jelly jar and tasted it. Lemon, sugar, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Mmmmmm...pretty good, but I wanted a bit more tang. I looked at my vinegars: Balsamic, White, and Apple Cider. Ooops, the cider one was down to the last drop, so let's move on to the white vinegar. I added about a tablespoon, put the lid back on my little jar and gave it a shake. Not Bad! 

Okay, so I opened the packet of beets and slipped off their skins, then quartered them on a plate to contain the juices. The beet quarters were beautifully firm and tempting!

     I went outside to my box planters and plucked a sprig of mint that has faithfully survived despite my neglectful attendance to it. I gave it a quick rinse in the sink and plucked off each leaf, about a dozen in all. It might be a little heavy on the mint for four beets, but I am using it all anyway.

     I poured out a little bit of dressing onto the beets right on the plate and stirred it around with the mint. I guess I made a little too much dressing, but I can save it for another salad this week in my jelly jar. I put the beets into a glass dish, juices and all, where they can marinate a bit and we will eat them for dinner tonight. I just had to taste one!


4 red or yellow beets
olive oil
coarse salt

Trim the tops and bottoms of the beets and scrub them with a vegetable brush, the dry them with a paper towel. Put the beets on piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle salt on top. Wrap the packet up tightly so it won't leak. Put it on a baking sheet or dish and baked in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Chill and then slip the peels off the beets. Quarter the beets and then cut each quarter in half for some nice bite-sized morsels.

Lemon Dressing
Zest and Juice of one lemon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbs white vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp fresh mint leaves, chopped

Put all ingredients in a jelly jar and tightened the lid, then shake vigorously for a several seconds. Pour over beets and stir in the mint leaves. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator. 
*Note: you can cook the beet greens later or feed them to your Bearded Dragon, if you have one. We used to, but she got old and passed on. I got so many greens this week, the beet greens are going into the compost pile.

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