Roasted beets, pickled radishes, crunchy pumpernickel croutons, fresh oranges and creamy goat cheese tossed with baby spinach make for a fresh and tasty winter salad.
I am obsessed with beets. Anytime we go out to dinner, if I see beets on the menu, done. I order them because I find that I don’t make them very often at home. See, my husband is just not a beet guy. Between his disdain for beets, olives and anchovies, it’s a wonder we’ve made it this far because those are three of my all-time favorites, especially for salads. But they say love conquers all.
Beets are one of those divisive vegetables that it seems we’re born thinking we shouldn’t like. Their flavor is often described as earthy, but I find them to have a buttery sweetness that pairs beautifully with citrus, particularly oranges. A salad is one of my favorite vehicles to showcase the beet and today’s recipe is chock full of bright colors, textures and flavors that really allow the beet to shine.
A colorful salad is especially welcome in January, when everything is feeling a bit gray and stark around us. I make it for my lunch, when I don’t have to worry about any beet-shaming since Steve is at work. The roasted beets and pickled radishes will keep for days in the refrigerator so it comes together easily for a midday meal. And don’t get me started on these pumpernickel croutons. The nutty rye flavor balances the tangy goat cheese and sweet oranges and their slightly dense texture and crispy edges give just the right amount of crunch.
I often include citrus in my winter salads since it’s in season and vibrant. I love oranges and grapefruit, but I don’t like to eat the white pith or a tough membrane. The solution is to segment your citrus fruit and then use those reserved juices for your dressing. It’s easier than you think and all you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board. I always use a serrated knife, but really any sharp knife will do. Here’s a quick how to:
If you’re on Team Beet like me, I know you’re going to love this salad. And if you’re still not on board, go ahead and leave them out and maybe add an extra orange, I won’t judge. Either way, this salad is sure to be a bright spot on a cold and bleak winter day.
- 5 oz baby spinach
- 1 pound whole beets root ends trimmed
- 2 oranges peeled and segmented
- 4 oz goat cheese
- Pickled Radishes
- 4 oz radishes root ends trimmed and very thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pumpernickel Croutons
- 3 slices pumpernickel bread
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Orange Vinaigrette
- 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- salt and pepper
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Roasted Beets: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place beets on a large sheet of foil and enclose the beets, forming a little package with the foil.
Roast for about one hour or until beets can be easily pierced with a fork.
Allow to cool and then peel with a paring knife. You can use gloves or hold with a paper towel, being careful not to stain everything with the beet juice.
Slice beets and set aside.
Pickled Radishes: While beets are roasting, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a small pot and stir to dissolve. Bring to a boil and pour over radishes, cover and refrigerate.
Pumpernickel Croutons: Cube bread and heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over med/high heat.
Add bread and season with salt and pepper.
Toast bread, tossing or stirring frequently until crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
Vinaigrette: Whisk orange juice, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Add oil in a slow and steady stream, whisking constantly until well blended.
Salad: Toss spinach with a few tablespoons of vinaigrette and arrange beets, orange segments, pickled radishes, goat cheese and croutons on the top. Drizzle with additional dressing to taste.