And oh, how I have waited for goat cheese and fresh beets.
One of my coworkers had a beet and spinach salad with goat cheese that looked so good I decided to try it myself. After seeing some beet salads that called for orange-juice concentrate while doing Internet research, I decided on one with fresh oranges from Martha Stewart, of all places. I really like how the pine nuts, mild goat cheese, and oranges work with the earthiness of the beets, and if you like bold colors, you’ll love how the beets color the goat cheese and oranges (to say nothing of your nail beds, the counter, and possibly the cat if you aren’t careful) a vivid pink.
See notes for substitutions and Japan ideas. Vegetarian.
Roasted Beet and Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts, and Oranges
Serves 3-4 as a meal; 6-8 as a side.
3 large beets (6 small) with their greens (têburu bîto,テーブルビート)
~2 tsp olive oil (oribu oîru, オリブオイール)
8 oz (225 g) baby spinach (hôrensô, ほうれん草)
3 oranges – I used Minneola (orenji, オレンジ)
4 oz (113 g) mild or honey goat cheese / chevre (chêburu chîzu, シェーブルチーズ; or yagi nyû chîzu, ヤギ乳チーズ)
1/4 cup (35 g) pine nuts (matsu no mi, 松の実)
~3 TBSP balsamic vinegar [or to taste] (barusamiko su, バルサミコ酢)
1 roasting pan
1 medium – large pot
1 frying pan
1 medium bowl with ice water (for blanching the beet greens)
1 large bowl
an apron (beet juice everywhere)
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F / 200º C. Cut the greens off the beets with a pair of kitchen scissors or a knife. Wash carefully and set aside.
2. Wash and peel the beets. Cut into bite-sized pieces, set in a oven-safe roasting dish and toss with a little olive oil to coat. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
3. While the beets are roasting, boil water in a pot. Remove any heavy steams. Cook the beet leaves and stems until tender–about 3-5 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water for a minute, then drain. When the greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water and chop.
4. Heat a (dry) frying pan over low heat. Add the pine nuts and gently toast over low heat until golden. (Be careful, they burn quickly.)
5. Peel and segment the oranges into bite-size chunks.
6. Wash the spinach well and drain. Add the oranges, beets, and beet greens. Crumble goat cheese on top and add balsamic vinegar to taste; gently toss.
7. Garnish with pine nuts.
If your beets aren’t sold with the greens, add more spinach– about another 1/4 lb (100 g) should do. If you want to mimic the texture of mixing fresh spinach with cooked beet greens, you could cook the additional spinach. The beets and greens (and oranges) can be prepped a day in advance.
Japan notes: Nagano has goat cheese. New vegetables are cropping up all the time in Omicho, so look for têburu bîto (テーブルビート) for fresh or canned beets (bîto kanzume, ビート缶詰), which Diamond and Yamaya and other import/gourmet stores may carry. Pine nuts are usually with the Chinese/Asian foods or the nuts and dried fruits. Instead of baby spinach, use well-washed spinach leaves cut into bite-sized pieces.
Nutrition Facts for 4 servings with honey goat cheese. Mild goat cheese instead of honey will reduce the sugar content.