Feta, Walnut & Beet Salad
“Tastes like dirt.” That was my husband’s response when I first asked him why he didn’t like beets. After gently informing him that it is okay to say something tastes “earthy” but it isn’t polite to say something tastes like “dirt”, I asked him to try MY beets. He did. They still tasted like dirt … I mean, earthy. That’s okay. He tried. So I grow and clean and cook beets for those lunches when he is at work and I can make my favorite beet and feta salad.
is there room in my garden?
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.
why you should eat beets and how to cook them
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 in advance for the abundance of “beet” puns.
Not sure? Try this beet salad
My favorite way to enjoy these “roasted” beets? As the star of this salad. It isn’t so much a recipe as it is gathering ingredients and putting them on a platter or in a bowl.
- In a bowl or on a serving platter, place a layer (or two) of roasted, sliced beets.
- Drizzle the beets lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle with chopped, toasted (warmed in a pan until fragrant) walnuts.
- Scatter chunks or crumbles of feta (or goat or blue) cheese on top.
- Distribute thin ribbons of prosciutto (can be lightly fried in a dry pan for a crispy texture) on top.
- Grab your fork.
If the beet greens are fresh and tender, they can be added as well. If that flavor is too strong for you, spinach and/or arugula will compliment the beets well.
Hopefully, I have piqued your curiosity and given you a new 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 there may be 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!