Roasted Beets with Walnut Vinaigrette

Roasting any vegetable accentuates its natural flavor and sweetness and the same can be said of beets. In order to fully appreciate a roasted beet, one must simply roast it right and Alice Waters, in her book Chez Panisse Vegetables, has figured it out perfectly. After roasting and peeling, she sprinkles the warm sliced beets with a generous splash of vinegar, then seasons them with salt and pepper and lets them rest and absorb the vinegar before adding any oil. Alice says that “the beets will never be as good if the oil is added too soon. The vinegar brightens and accentuates the beet flavor; oil should be added sparingly, for balance only. Prepared this way, the beets are ready to be combined with other ingredients in composed salads. “

Beets are available year round though they are at their best in spring and late summer through fall. Beets are not only delicious with their earthy flavor but packed with nutrients, an excellent source of fiber, folic acid, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. Even the beet greens are high in fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. You can enjoy the beets alone as they are or add them to any recipe.

At Savoir Faire Catering we like to serve beets as a star attraction in various salads, as part of an antipasti platter, or tossed with other roasted root vegetables. Personally, I love to keep a stock of them in my fridge to add to my daily salads. Yum! The beets will last up to a week in your fridge, once roasted and dressed.

A few favorites recipes are:

~ Roasted Beet with Arugula, Goat Cheese, Toasted Walnuts, and Walnut Vinaigrette

~ Warm Cumin-Spiced Beetroot Salad with Honey and Almond Dressing

~ Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Carrot Dressing

~ Beet Risotto with the Sautéed Beet Greens

Roasted Beets with Walnut Vinaigrette

Roasting the beets

  • One bunch of medium beets, uniformly sized

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Cut the beet greens from the beetroot leaving about an inch of stem. Wash and spin-dry them right away while they are fresh. Wrap the greens in a clean towel and save them for juicing or sautéing in olive oil at a later time.

Wash and scrub the beetroot removing any root beards and put them in a rimmed baking dish with a splash of water. Cover tightly with foil and roast the beets 45 minutes or until they can be easily be pierced with a pairing knife. Uncover, let cool, then peel* and cut them into quarters or slices depending on the size of the beets and how you plan to serve them.

Sprinkle generously with sherry or red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let the beets rest for 30 minutes then toss with the walnut vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Walnut Vinaigrette

  • Prepare the vinaigrette while the beets are roasting.
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil*
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper

Wisk together the vinegar and salt, then add the oils.

* I like to use La Nogalera walnut oil. This stuff is medicine!

Chef Notes:

~ Wearing disposal food gloves while peeling and cutting the beets will keep your hands from being stained red. Beets will also stain your cutting broads so wash them right away.

~ Try this recipe with grape seed oil instead of olive oil. Grape seed oil had a more neutral flavor and lets the pure walnut taste shine through.