I’m a huge fan of green salads. If you add extra veggies, you get a nutritional double whammy. Here is a quick and easy salad with beets, which are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Beets are also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, and a very good source of folate and manganese. Of course, not everyone loves beets (like the Obamas for instance!), but if you do like them, you’ll appreciate this simple, nutritional salad.
What you’ll need:
2 small red beets
2 small golden beets
salt and/or rosemary
sweet potatoes/carrots/brussel sprouts (optional)
Your favorite salad dressing
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Scrub your beets with a veggie brush, then dry and slice off the roots and top. Put 3 or 4 same-sized beets on a sheet of tin foil, sprinkle lightly with salt and/or rosemary, add a teaspoon or two of cooking olive oil, then tightly fold up the ends of the foil to make a sealed packet. Place the packet (or as many packets as you have) on a cookie sheet and place in oven.
Since your oven is hot, why not roast a few sweet potatoes or carrots or brussel sprouts at the same time? These other root vegetables do NOT need to be covered in foil to roast. Scrub and dry them, cut them into even sizes, add oil, salt and pepper, and spices and put on a cookie sheet. Smaller veggie pieces will cook faster, so check for tenderness with a fork in thirty minutes. This roasting of vegetables is a very forgiving process; it’s OK to turn the oven down to 375 or 350 if you want to cook a chicken or bake a cake at the same time. Just cook the vegetables until they are tender.
Check back on the beets in an hour. Carefully open one end of the foil packet. The foil won’t be hot, but beware the escaping steam! Gently pierce the beet with a fork. If it is as tender as a boiled potato, it is done. If not, reseal the tin foil and back into the oven it goes for ten or twenty minutes. After you remove them from the oven, let them sit.
When cool, grab a few paper towels and rub off the skin on each beet. This is a fun job for a child who does not mind getting purple fingers! Yes, beets stain like heck, so don’t set them down on your white linens. One spritz from a very mild bleach cleaner will clean the wooden cutting board. This photos show both peeled and unpeeled beets, all tender after roasting.
Then slice the beets and add to a green salad with small pieces of goat cheese. Walnuts add flavor and crunch. As for dressing recommendations, I suggest a plain vinaigrette, a light lemony dressing or a sweet balsamic dressing.
Junior chef tasks: Scrub the beets. Add the oil to the raw beets. Peel beets by rubbing paper towels against skin. Assemble the composed salad. Clean the purple mess left behind and have fun!
Robin is a certified professional chef and 2011 graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Prior to that, she enjoyed a career as mom, director of adult education for her town and director of religious education for her church. She can make puff pastry, classic French food, Italian peasant food, ice cream and really good PB&J. A devout believer in lifelong learning, she loves to try new foods, recipes and techniques, and invite her friends and family to come over for a bite.