Did you know that beets rank #8 in the top 10 Superfoods of 2019, according to a survey by Today’s Dietitian? I love this list because despite including a couple of “it” foods like açaí berries, most of the entries are the good old fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts we’ve known are healthy for years. Beets, for example, are packed with vitamins and minerals and have been shown to lower blood pressure. Ongoing studies are even researching their benefits in reducing inflammation, improving athletic performance, and supporting brain health. But if that’s not reason enough, this Spinach Beet Salad is delicious, and quite a looker to boot.
Now, if when you think of beets, you get involuntary chills thinking about the Del Monte canned beets from your grandma’s pantry, don’t click away just yet. Freshly cooked beets have a mild flavor and great texture, and you can often find them pre-cooked, peeled, and packaged in your grocery store’s produce department. I really like the Love Beets brand, which also sells cooked beets in flavors like honey ginger and sweet chili.
In this salad, beets sit on a bed of baby spinach and are garnished with spicy-sweet pecans and creamy crumbled goat cheese. It makes for a stunning presentation whether you’re serving it for a party or just tucking into a lunch for one. If the latter, you deserve it! And you’ll feel great for eating a salad that nourishes you from the inside out.
- You can usually find spiced pecans in your grocery story produce department, but I really love Trader Joe’s Sweet and Spicy Pecans. I stock up on my Trader Joe’s runs, and always have these in my pantry. They’re delicious on all kinds of salads, or even in a bowl by themselves next to a cheese plate.
- This is the kind of recipe where the quality of each ingredient really shines. I call for “good-quality” olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the recipe, for example. You can use what you have, of course, but you will really taste the difference when you splurge a little on the oil and vinegar.
- You can use red or golden beets for this recipe. Both are delicious, though I love the visual contrast of ruby red beets against the green spinach and white goat cheese.
- If you want to roast the beets yourself, here’s my technique. Cut off the greens, wash the beets gently, put them on a large square of foil, and drizzle with a teaspoon of both olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Wrap them up, careful to make sure none of the liquid will drip out. I usually put 1-2 beets together in a foil pack depending on their size. Bake them in a 400-degree oven for about 45-60 minutes—their size will determine how fast they cook. To test whether they are done, open the foil carefully and stick in a metal skewer or skinny knife. You want it to easily pierce the beet through to the middle. Then, let cool and peel. The peel comes off a little easier the warmer they are.
Spinach Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
Stunning salad featuring beets, baby spinach, spiced pecans, and goat cheese dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
- 5 oz. baby spinach
- 3 T. good quality olive oil
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. pepper
- 2 T. good quality balsamic vinegar, divided
- 1 lb. cooked and peeled beets, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 c. goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 c. spiced pecans
Toss spinach with olive oil, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.
Add 1 T. balsamic vinegar and toss.
Add beets, goat cheese, and pecans.
Drizzle with final tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
This salad is beautiful in a large salad bowl, but also can be plated individually for a dinner party. To plate individually, toss spinach with oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar and divide onto each plate. Then divide beets, goat cheese, and pecans between the plates, drizzling each with an extra splash of vinegar.