Every year, from July to October, I enjoy shopping for produce at our local farmers market, Borski Farms. In fact, here’s a picture of all the vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers I brought home one week…beautiful corn on the cob, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, apricots, red potatoes, basil, rosemary, cilantro, dill and even sunflowers!
I love supporting local businesses and Borski Farms never disappoints. Once the summer harvest is over, they feature winter squash varieties, potatoes, apples, onions, cooking pumpkins, carving pumpkins and dried heirloom beans. More Family Food Roots recipes, using their fresh fare will be coming your way this fall!
I’ve always passed by the beets because who wants to go to all that trouble preparing them? And then one day before I realized it, I had grabbed a bag! Now what was I going to do? The beets sat in my refrigerator for a week as I thought about a solution. And then it hit me: Beet Salad. As each ingredient came to me (I know it’s odd that I day-dream about food and recipes), I couldn’t wait to taste my creation!
The first idea was mint, so I grabbed some from a friend. Then lemon and soft feta cheese popped in. Next I imagined a honey lemon-dijon dressing. And there you have it friends…Beet Salad was born!
This Beet Salad post got waylaid a bit by my Peach Salsa recipe development. My husband, trying to assure me it was just fine, said, “Liz, it’s beets. Nobody likes them so don’t worry.” I’m inclined to disagree with him so I’m sharing this recipe anyway!
I’m sure you’ve all had beets at salad bars (back in the day). However, it’s a whole new experience to eat freshly harvested beets instead of the ones from a can or jar!! So when you see fresh beets grab them and make Beet Salad. With spicy mint leaves, tangy lemon zest, creamy feta cheese and honey lemon-dijon dressing, you just can’t ‘beet’ it!
What’s at the rood of this food? Lots of health benefits and essential nutrients. You’re welcome beet lovers, wherever you are!
- 1 ½ pounds beets
- 2 T fresh mint, chopped
- 1 T lemon zest
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
- 2 T lemon juice
- 2 T evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Here are two options for cooking the beets:
- Just cut off the ends and peel those babies. Cut them in half or quarters and cover with water in a pan; place on medium heat and simmer until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Don’t get sidetracked (like I did) or all the water will boil out and they’ll burn! Thankfully I got there in time to save the pan although I did have to peel the burned bits off. Drain beets and set aside to cool.
- Beets may get a bad rap…but this method is a good wrap! Preheat the oven to 400º. Cut off the ends of the beets and wrap each one in aluminum foil; place beets on a sheet pan. Roast them for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender. Depending on the size, some may be finished before others so just check the smaller ones at about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, unwrap beets and set aside to cool.
With either method, cool the beets for about 15 minutes. Line cutting board with parchment paper to prevent stains. Cut beets into pieces and place in a bowl. Fold in chopped mint, lemon zest and crumbled feta cheese. In a small bowl, add the lemon juice, evoo, dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine; drizzle over beets and mix. Garnish with more feta, lemon zest and/or mint leaves.
- The beet roasting method is inspired by Ina Garten-The Barefoot Contessa, my favorite Food Network chef and cookbook author. For me, this worked better than the stove-top method because the peel comes off easier once they are roasted. Oh, and I didn’t burn them either!
- I’m happy to report that while your hands will get red, it washes off easily.
- If the dressing is too tart, simply add another teaspoon of honey.
- If you don’t have dijon mustard on hand, use yellow or stoneground.
- I like eating this beet salad for lunch, but it can’t be beat as a side dish to a farm fresh dinner or barbecue!
- Beets are loaded with essential nutrients and a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C. Beetroots and beetroot juice have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure and increased exercise performance. Many of these benefits are due to their high content of inorganic nitrates. Their leaves, known as beet greens, can also be eaten.
- Beet photos courtesy of pixabay.com free stock photos.