Beet Salad with Feta, Walnuts, and Prosciutto

Farm …

… to Table

My small, suburban garden hardly qualifies as a “farm” but it’s my farm. In the 20+ years that we have lived in this house, the trial-and-error approach has taught me how to get as much as possible out of my 8’x20′ space. And “as much as possible” refers to variety as well as quantity.

One vegetable that was not on my list of must-haves until 4-5 years ago was beets. I don’t even remember why I decided to plant them the first time. It probably had something to do with some Better Homes and Gardens or Cooking Light articles. I am a sucker for those gorgeous photos! I decided to plant a small row and discovered just how little effort and attention they require. They aren’t fussy when it comes to water, they don’t require much in the way of thinning, and they make a perfect border plant.

I also needed to figure out what I was going to do with my harvest. I grew up on beet pickles, but no one in my family really liked them so it seemed like a lot of work for just me (besides, I can always steal a jar from my mom’s cupboard). At this point in time, roasting vegetables and the addition of balsamic vinegar to many recipes became popular. I tried this combination with the fresh-from-the-garden beets and was so impressed, I have been growing them ever since.

Cleaning and cooking beets can be messy but over the years I have found a few tips and tricks to be very helpful. For more instructions on cleaning, cooking, and freezing beets, check out this post: Are You Missing a Beet? I apologize now for the abundance of “beet” puns.

My favorite way to enjoy these “roasted” beets? Well, it’s not a recipe so much as an assembly.

  1. In a bowl or on a serving platter, place a layer (or two) of sliced beets.
  2. Drizzle the beets lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I used a white balsamic here).
  3. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle with chopped, toasted (warmed in a pan until fragrant) walnuts.
  5. Scatter chunks or crumbles of feta (or goat or blue) cheese on top.
  6. Distribute a few (or many) thin slices of prosciutto (can be lightly fried in a dry pan for a crispy texture).
  7. Grab your fork.

If the beet greens are fresh and tender, they can be added as well. If that’s too much beet-flavor, spinach and/or arugula will provide a good balance.

I am hoping I have piqued your curiosity and/or given you a little different perspective on this particular root vegetable. It’s easy to get stuck in a mindset of “I tried it once and it was awful!” Considering that maybe different ways of preparation and different combinations of flavors can wholly change your opinion.

Who knows … I may try to change your impressions of Brussels sprouts in the near future.

And, yes, it is Brussels, not brussel … this blog is teaching me so much!

Sweet beets, salty prosciutto, crunchy walnuts, and tangy feta cheese: this simple salad hits all the notes of a complete meal!
Sweet beets, salty prosciutto, crunchy walnuts, and tangy feta cheese: this simple salad hits all the notes of a complete meal!

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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

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