Looking out the window, I realized that there were a ton of herbs in the garden just begging to be picked and there were also some beautiful big beets that I really wanted to use. Today called for a(gluten-free, of course) healthy salad recipe with roasted beets, lots of fresh herbs, and peppery arugula. Who doesn’t love a good beet salad?
For the herbs, by all means make them finely chopped and perfect, but I’m a big believer in the whole “when you cut your herbs too much, you leave most of the flavor on the board” mentality, plus over-chopping them turns them brown. You can, of course, finely chop herbs with a single pass of the knife, but this is not a recipe that needs that. Big, bold, bright herbs and garlic work perfectly here!
With beets, you can, of course, choose to boil them if you want. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to do that for any beet salad. One thing that I’ve found really makes a difference with the flavor of the larger beets is adding some vinegar to the cooking process. It brings out a natural sweetness and brightness that sometimes gets lost as the beets mature and grow. If you want to use roasted beets for this beet salad, just a tablespoon or so of vinegar in the aluminum foil with the beets as they roast is great, but if you’re boiling them, add 1/2-1 cup of red wine vinegar (for red beets) to your water. If you have gold beets, I’m a fan of champagne vinegar, but rice or even distilled white are fine. I’m a big fan of whole roasted beets, but by all means cut them up if you’re pressed for time.
Whole Roasted Beet Salad with Herb “Pesto” and Arugula
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- 1/2 bunch thyme, chopped
- 1 sprig mint, chopped
- 1 bunch basil, chopped
- 1-2 sprigs tarragon, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tsp juice
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-5# whole beets, scrubbed
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 Tbs salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 bunch thyme
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs water
- 1-2 handfuls of baby arugula
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine all and let sit for as long as you want to let the flavors come together. If you are going to let it sit for more than one hour, keep refrigerated.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Place two layers of aluminum foil large enough to completely wrap the beets on a baking tray. Put the beets on the foil and sprinkle all of the other ingredients over. Wrap tightly in foil. Keep the package on a tray, just in case there are drips or leaks and bake for 45 min-1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of your beets. You want them to be tender when you poke them with a knife.
- Remove from the oven when done and unwrap. When cool enough to handle, rub the skin off with your hands or a towel (a towel that you don't mind staining with beet juice...). The skin should come off easily. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Toss the beets with 1 tsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbs olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the arugula and season with a sprinkle more salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the herb sauce over and you're done!
- This salad is also great with some crumbled feta or goat cheese.
It’s pretty simple, but this recipe for roasted beets with arugula and fresh herbs is delicious and incredibly healthy!