Roasted Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette & Goat Cheese

Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness, while transforming their texture into something that is uniformly tender. Tangy goat cheese is a great counterpoint to the beet sugar and the walnuts add just a bit of crunch. Two of our favorite local goat cheese makers are Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Company and Firefly Farms, both in nearby Maryland. Serves 4.

For the Vinaigrette

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon finely diced shallots
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Refrigerate (up to 1 week) until ready to serve.

For the Salad

Ingredients

8 small beets, any variety or combination</div>
splash of olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette or your favorite vinaigrette
2 tablespoons fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons toasted, chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Wash and trim the tops and bottoms of the beets, but do not peel them. Toss the beets with olive oil and wrap them in foil. Roast them in the oven until tender when pierced with a small paring knife, about 25 minutes for small beets, longer for larger ones. Let cool.
  3. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter the beets.
  4. When ready to serve, toss the beets with half of the Balsamic Vinaigrette. Add more dressing as desired.
  5. Divide the beets among four salad plates. Garnish with the goat cheese and walnuts.

Tip For Peeling Beets: With a paper towel in each hand, rub the skin off each beet. The paper towels keep your hands from turning bright red (if you’re peeling red beets) and do a beautiful job of taking off the skin while maintaining the contour of the beet.

To Toast Nuts: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Toast the nuts in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes or until they are fragrant.

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