Beets and I have been at odds with each other for years. While my parents have insisted that it is an amazing root, I have not seen eye to eye with them… until now.
Beets have a very high sugar content, so they can easily move from their characteristic earthy flavor to a candied wonder in no time. Roasting beets is a great way to release the sugars, but so can pickling. Considering how much I love vinegar, particularly balsamic, I decided to test out a recipe, and now I’ve added it as a staple fall dish.
- 3-4 boiled, skinned beets
- 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil, divided into 2 Tbs and 1 Tbl
- 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 red onion, large chunks
- 1 bunch of basil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 3-4 leaves of curly kale, de-stemmed
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
One of the beauties of beets, is that you can prepare them ahead of time and use them later. I’ve ended up boiling the beets first thing in the morning before getting ready for the day, and by the time I’m cleaned and primped, the beets are ready for peeling. I’ve let them sit in the fridge for up to a week before using them for a recipe.
Slice the skinned beets into bite size pieces, and place is a bowl along with the vinegar, olive oil, onions and garlic powder. Massage the basil leaves to release the oils and add to the bowl. Toss until well coated and let marinate for 20 min-2 hours. Beets can easily overpower the basil, so a longer marinating time will better infuse the flavor.
While the beets marinate, remove the stem from the kale, chop into bite-size pieces and put in a bowl. Add 1 Tbs of oil and massage the leaves. Massaging helps break down the fiber and makes the leaves less stiff. In a medium heated pan, toast the almonds until lightly browned (approx. 2 min), shaking the pan frequently. It’s important to keep an eye on them as they can burn really quickly, so don’t start them and walk away! Halve the tomatoes, crumble chèvre and mix with the kale.
Remove the red onions from the beet mixture, strain the marinade into a separate container, and toss with the rest of the salad. Finish with the toasted almonds. If the salad needs extra dressing, add in some of the marinade. If you’re looking for a little extra crunch, try adding in some snow peas, carrots, or gouda instead of chèvre (gives that squeaky cheese texture).