Are you all tired of my talking about Israel yet? Too bad!! I got at LEAST a few more weeks of non-stop Israel talk! Speaking of Israel, that brings me to my NEXT topic of discussion – BEET SALAD!
What? Beets? Israel? Haley you gone cray cray? No I have not thank you very much!
Beets are a SUPER polarizing vegetable. People love them or hate them.
Personally, I have always been a beet hater – yeah that’s right! I said it. I mean come on – they taste like dirt! Actually!
Who wants to eat something that is stereotypically known to taste like dirt?? Not me!
So why in the world is a beet hater posting about beets? Well… Israel! In Israel, our various hotels would always have huge salad bars full of pre-made salads. There was almost ALWAYS a beet salad present. Sometimes it was a shoestring beet salad. Sometimes a chopped beet salad. At first, I avoided these giant bowls of dirt like they were… well, like they were giant bowls of dirt!
But each day, I noticed more and more of my friends eating them! And there was something oddly captivating about them. The bright, vibrant color was lure to my eyes! I couldn’t stop wondering – could I like beets? So one day, I built up the courage. I got my standard hummus with cucumber and tomato salad, and added a side of BEETS!
What do ya know? Beets are not so bad when they have dressing on them and other ingredients surrounding them to hide the nasty dirt flavor! I made a vow from then on to try at least one beet dish each day one was available. Each day I surprised myself, finding a little more of me actually enjoyed the beet dishes I was force-feeding myself.
Now that I am home, I am SHOCKED to admit that I have actually been kinda craving beets! I decided that I might as well try to make a beet recipe on my own! What have I got to lose? I went to the local store and was slightly terrified to find the massive rooted vegetables in the produce aisle. Was this a bad idea? I wrapped those babies up and hesitantly moved on to the canned foods aisle. That’s when I noticed something magical.
CANNED BEETS! Pre-cleaned, peeled, cut, AND cooked!! Just waiting for me to grab them off the shelf! HALLELUJAH! My sanity has been saved! So yes, I admit it – I used canned beets while developing this recipe. AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! If you are feeling brave – go ahead and use fresh beets! As I always like to say, you do you my friends! (Simply clean, peel, roast, and cool as you normally would – hah, simply).
Easy Beet and Goats’ Cheese Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 10 minutes | Yield: 3 1/4 cups
I cannot believe it – I actually like beets! This is insane! It is true – balsamic vinegar and garlic are two MAJOR flavors, but I like beets!! Wahoo!!
This beet salad is seriously awesome. Even for the non-beet eaters. I promise – no dirt flavor!!
The canned beets make this recipe so easy. Simply pop open the can, drain, rinse – and you are good to go! The goats’ cheese adds an amazing creaminess to the already acidic dish, the almonds at the perfect crunch, and garlic is like POW-POW! (Shout out to my Israeli group! That was our team name… I promise I’ll shut up about it eventually… just not yet).
You might be thinking – so what’s with the mustard? You may notice mustard used in a lot of salad recipes actually (potato salad, broccoli salad, macaroni salad) – this is because mustard is an emulsifier. An substance that helps two other substances mix – even though they normally would not.
How does it do this you ask? Science lesson! Emulsifiers, like egg yolks and mustard, are made with bulky protein molecules which, when combined with fat (a.k.a. oil) and water (well watery ingredients rathter, a.k.a vinegar), prevent the fat and water from binding – allowing them to mix (temporarily anyway)! Yay, science!
Anyway, back to the beets!
This recipe will actually yield some extra dressing which makes this salad even better for pouring over a bed of greens. Try it as a side, over greens, or heck – throw it on some chicken! See if I care!
2 (16-ounce) cans of beets – diced or shoestring
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons mustard (use your favorite kind – dijon or spicy brown work well)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
4 ounces goat’s cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup almonds (raw or marcona), sliced or slivered
5 ounces mixed greens (spinach, arugula, or spring mix), optional
- Drain excess liquid from beets then rinse in a colander. Careful not to let the juice splash on your clothes – it will stain!
- In a small mixing bowl, combine garlic, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Use a fork or whisk to combine.
- Transfer beets into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add goats cheese and almonds.
- Pour dressing over beet/cheese/almond mixture. Gently toss ingredients to fully coat with dressing.
- Serve cold as a side salad or over a bed of mixed greens!
Interested in another salad recipe? Check out my Chickpea and Feta Salad! I promise you won’t be disappointed!