You would never know that I was once a beet-hater. Now, it seems that I can’t eat enough of them. While I still prefer the milder yellow beets, I am happy to declare that I enjoy the earthy red ones as well. I like to serve red beets dressed in vinaigrettes, with citrus and other bold ingredients to temper their earthiness. In this salad, feta, mint and pistachios are formidable accompaniments to the beets, lending salt, fragrance and nuttiness, perfectly complementing my new beet friends. It’s a beautiful dish to look at, easy to prepare and an elegant first course or simple meal. The beets may be roasted and dressed up to one day in advance and left to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Roasted Beets with Feta, Mint and Pistachios
1 1/2 pounds beets
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
4 cups arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup crumbled feta (or goat cheese)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut in chiffonade
1/4 cup raw pistachios
Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.) Wrap beets in foil and roast in oven until tender, about 1 hour. Remove and cool.
While the beets are roasting, whisk oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Add shallots and stir to combine; set aside.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. Cut the beets in 1 inch chunks and place in a large bowl. Add all of the shallots (use a fork to fish them out) and half of the dressing to the beets. Gently toss to combine. (Beets may be prepared in advance to this point. Refrigerate up to one day. Reserve remaining vinaigrette). Before serving, toss the arugula with some of the remaining vinaigrette to taste. Arrange on individual serving plates or platter. Spoon beets in the center of the arugula. Scatter feta, mint and pistachios over the salad.