This is a delicious, vibrantly colored salad. If you’d like to do it ahead of time, the roasted beets can be peeled, chopped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, and marinated up to three hours in advance. For the vinaigrette, I prefer a combination of olive oil and grapeseed oil, so the olive flavor doesn’t overtake the balance of balsamic and lemon juice. If you don’t have grapeseed on hand, substitute vegetable oil or a light olive oil.
- 6 beets (about 2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste if necessary
- 8 grinds of black pepper, plus more to taste if necessary
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
Herbed Goat Cheese:
- 2 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Pinch of salt
- Several grinds of black pepper
- 3 tablespoons roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped (see Kitchen Tip)
- 1 teaspoon thyme, coarsely chopped
- Roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Wrap the beets individually in foil. Place on a sheet pan and roast for 60 to 80 minutes depending on size, checking occasionally after 45 minutes by inserting a fork or metal skewer in the top of the beet, near the stem end. If it meets slight resistance, the beet is done. Transfer to a plate until cool enough to handle.
- Once cool, remove the foil wrapping and wrap the beet in a paper towel or kitchen towel that you don’t mind staining red. Rub back and forth until the outer skin falls away. Discard the skin. Cut the beets in half, then into 4 wedges per half. Place the wedges into a bowl and refrigerate while you make the marinade.
- Make the marinade: Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Whisk in the oils and pour them over the beets. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste and stir gently to coat the beets. Refrigerate while you assemble the rest of the salad. The beets can marinate for up to 3 hours before serving.
- Make the herbed cheese: Combine the cheese and cream, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add the honey, zest, thyme, salt, and pepper and fold gently with a spoon or spatula until combined.
- To assemble: When you are ready to serve, remove the beets from the refrigerator and stir gently to coat with the marinade.
- Arrange the beets on a medium-sized serving platter. Dot with teaspoon-sized bits of cheese and sprinkle with pistachios and chopped thyme. Serve.
If nut allergies are a concern, substitute toasted soy nuts or sunflower seeds.