I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t adore salad. Growing up Italian, my first exposure to a salad was at my Grandmother’s on Sunday, her salad would be a mix of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, all of the veggies from a wonderful Italian man who pushed his Peddler’s cart through the neighborhoods of Jersey City, NJ. I have such fond memories of that, from my childhood when I would spend my summers with my Grandma, also, in my Grandma’s wonderful salad were olives, sharp provolone cheese, and all of the Italian cured meat she could fit in the bowl, pepperoni, salami, , sopperrsotta, you get the picture. I still love those salads, but I love to create salads that incorporate different things then just Italian meats, not that there is anything wrong with that!
I love beets, however, growing up I didn’t care for them, I don’t know why, I loved most veggies, but brussel sprouts and beets weren’t my thing, now as an adult, I adore both! The first time I was reintroduced to both of them was when I was dating my fireman and my Mother-in-Law made them, they were so delicious. My mother-in-law was a great cook! So from that day forward I was hooked on them! One of the ways I love to prepare beets is roasted in the oven. I rub them with a little EVOO skin on, wrap in foil and in just 45 minutes you have a tender roasted beet. The skin is so easy to remove because it has been steaming in foil, and you just need to season them with salt and pepper and they are so amazing! Put them in my roasted beet salad, with fresh baby lettuce, some heirloom tomatoes, and the sweetness of the candied walnuts and salty goat cheese is to die for! I didn’t even use dressing because salt cracked black pepper are all you really need. Try this for a lite supper on its own, or pair it with a juicy rib eye, that I failed to photograph, even though it looked beautiful, and I now I am sad and full of regret, or even for a fancy lunch!
I hope you will give this one a try, it’s so satisfying!
Roasted Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts and Goat Cheese Croutons
A salad that eats like a meal, full of flavor, and so good, you'll want seconds!
- To make this for a busy weeknight, you can make the beets ahead of time, slice and store in an airtight container for a few days, then cut and add to the salad to save time. Then the total time of the salad is about the time it takes to chill the goat cheese croutons, and fry them up!
- 3 large beets scrubbed and dried, skin on
- Baby lettuce or Spring mix salad
- 1 cup of heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 4 oz. of goat cheese
- 1 cup of walnuts
- 1 1/2 tbsp. of unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
For the beets
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Rub each beet lightly with Olive oil, then wrap individually in foil. Place on baking sheet and roast for 45 to 55 minutes until soft.
- Remove from oven, let beets rest about 10 minutes.
- Peel skin, then slice and let cool for use in salad the same day or store in airtight container for up to 4 days.
For the Goat Cheese Croutons
- The easiest way to slice goat cheese is chilled and with unflavored dental floss. I used a very sharp knife because I only had mint dental floss and didn’t want my goat cheese to suffer, and did fairly well, but the floss works best for this. You are making one inch slices, I had some slices go rogue, and fail to cooperate, but I added them in any way! I think the baby ones are very cute!
- Beat one egg
- In a pie plate add your panko, you can dredge them in flour first, we were taught in Culinary class to dredge first in flour, then dip in egg, and then bread crumbs for most frying, I opt not to do that in this case because the panko adhere perfectly without it and because it’s my kitchen. You make the call. I did not use flour on mine. They look and taste divine!
- Dip slices in egg then cover generously in panko, when all slices are coated, let sit in fridge for about 15 minutes or so, to let the breadcrumbs adhere to the goat cheese.
- Remove goat cheese from fridge, heat a frying pan with EVOO about a tbsp. on medium high heat, when oil is hot, begin to add the goat cheese croutons, do not crowd pan, brown lightly about 3 min. per side. Remove to plate.
For the Candied Walnuts
- In medium frying pan, over medium heat, add 1 cup of walnuts, butter, and sugar.
- Heat well making sure to stir frequently so nuts do not burn, do not walk away from this, I promise it will burn. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove to parchment lined sheet pan to cool. Keep in a single layer to prevent clumping as the walnuts cool. When cool to the touch you can add to salad, I didn’t use a whole cup, the extras I put in a Ziploc, and I’m sure my boys will eat them for a snack by nightfall!
To assemble the salad
- In a large salad bowl, add baby lettuce, add sliced beets, I quartered the slices, add the tomatoes, then the candied walnuts, season with Kosher salt and cracked pepper, top with goat cheese croutons, and devour!