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beet & goat cheese salad with toasted hemp & sesame seeds

If it’s Wegetables, it must be Vednesday.

Confession: with waning light this time of year, in order to photograph in natural light, I’ll often prepare some dinner-ish item and eat it all by myself for lunch. If it’s a salad of sorts I’ll usually dress just enough of it to satisfy my lunch appetite, save the rest and share it with the guinea pig when he gets home. You’re getting the picture…this time of year, I’m my own guinea pig. (To be perfectly honest, I don’t mind the job. And today, I flat out loved it. I halved the recipe and ate it all. Drop the “guinea”, keep the “pig”…thank you very much!)

Ever taste hemp seeds? – ok maybe that’s the wrong question – Have you ever bought packaged hemp seed at the grocery store and used your debit card to pay? Toast these little things and they’re about the nuttiest nubbins  you’ll ever eat. Plus, as if taste weren’t enough (and let’s be honest – it really isn’t) they’re jam-packed with nutrition (especially Omega-3’s and -6’s, so super good for your heart and brain!) Add them to your cereal in the morning, your muffins or other baked goods, into your soup, into your … well, whatever!  (I swear to you, these do not taste like hay…or even like grass!)

If you can buy your beets with the greens still attached, that’s a good idea for 2 reasons – decent looking greens means the beets don’t belong to last month, and braised beet greens are the bee’s knees.

You can use a mixture of fresh greens for this salad, but the bitters are so delicious with the sweetness of the roasted beets and the creamy tang of the goat cheese. And then you’ve got all that nutty goodness going on. My goodness, this is good!

Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad with Toasted Hemp & Sesame Seeds

BeetGoatCheeseSaladHempSeed-1enough for 4

for the salad

small to medium beets – 8

hemp seeds – 2 teaspoons

chicory, or baby arugula, or add a bit of radicchio or spinach – about 7 oz. total

goat cheese – 12 to 16 slices

a handful of mustard greens and water cress

sesame seeds – 2 teaspoons toasted


for the dressing

red wine vinegar (I used sherry vinegar) – 1 Tablespoon

Dijon mustard – 1 Tablespoon

Hemp Seed Oil – Or Walnut Oil – 1 Tablespoon

Olive Oil – 3 Tablespoons

Parsley, coarsely chopped – 2 Tablespoons

Salt & Pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375° F. (190°C.)

Prepare the dressing. Mix the vinegar and the mustard together and then add the oils. Stir the parsley in and then season with a good grind of pepper and a sprinkle of salt.

Remove the greens (if using) from the beets, leaving a good inch of stem end. Remove the lower part of the beet’s root, but leaving one inch. (This prevents the beet from “bleeding” out as it cooks.) Scrub clean but don’t peel. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Roast/bake until tender. (Depending on the beet size, this will take from 30 to 40 minutes usually. Check for doneness by inserting a skewer. It should pierce easily.) Remove the beets to cool…when cool enough to handle, slip their skins off. Slice each beet into six wedges from stalk to root. Place them in a small bowl and toss with a small amount of the dressing, to coat.

While the beets are roasting, prepare the beet greens. Wash the leaves and stalks. Cut the stalks into bite-size lengths. In a non-stick skillet saute them gently in a dab of  oil for about 5 minutes. Add the wet leaves on top and continue to cook for about another 5 minutes, until weaves have wilted and stalks are bite-ready. (8-10 minutes total.) Drizzle with a bit of dressing to lightly coat.

Toast the hemp seeds in a non-stick skillet for about 5 minutes, or until their nutty aroma rises.

Dress the chicory or arugula (whatever your main salad greens are) in enough dressing to lightly coat. Arrange on a serving plate, or divide between 4 separate salad plates. Place the beet greens on top. Add the beets. Add the watercress and mustard greens if using, and tuck in the rounds of goat cheese. Scatter the toasted sesame and hemp seeds over all.


This recipe has been adapted from one in Tender by Nigel Slater. He used poppy seeds instead of the sesame. He boiled his beets instead of roasting. He used some greens not available to us locally. And he DID use the hemp oil, not the walnut oil that I used here. Sometimes you just have to go with what you have. Feel free to substitute. There’re all sorts of ways this salad can be wonderful! 

(Just for the fun of it, I roll the goat cheese in a mixture of the seeds before slicing. This would have been especially pretty if using poppy seeds.)

To print, click.

ps. up next a sweet but not too sweet special something…it’s what you get when you eat your vegetables!

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. This looks so tasty. A Middle Eastern white bean/beet/walnut salad has long been one of my favorites. I’ve also been looking for a good recipe with hemp, stimulated by hemp’s reputation and diverse qualities as popularized by various well known people. So, I’ll definitely be giving some variation of this recipe a try. Thanks for posting it,

    December 5, 2012
    • Ah, looking for a good recipe to use hemp seed and hemp oil? On the back of the Bob’s Red mill Hemp Seed is a recipe for a veggie burger that I thought I’d give a go. The oil can be snuck in all sorts of places…but best advice is not to cook with it as it destroys much of the Essential Fatty Acids it’s so rich in.

      December 7, 2012
  2. Don’t get me started on natural light! I’ve been all over my house inside and out. It’s the back porch between 12-2 for me now.
    I’ve not tried hemp seeds. Will put them on my list though. I’m still eating a fair amount of salads. They might be good on rice too? x wendy

    December 5, 2012
    • It’s a narrow window, isn’t it, that 12 to 2? Have to act fast don’t we? I eat salads all through the year. I know that’s not for everyone. Obviously the salads change a great deal from one season to another. These that incorporate winter veggies with nutritious greens are some of my favorites. And yes, great idea to incorporate the hemp with rice. I especially see it lightly toasted and scattered on top, but can be cooked along with too.

      December 7, 2012
  3. I love the combination of cooked and fresh greens here! And I love that you used the stem–I think it’s an under-appreciated part of the beet. 🙂 Lovely as always!

    December 5, 2012
    • I agree with you about the stems Emmy! Sadly we only get the stems when we also get the greens, and they’re too often absent. Thank you for the compliment! 🙂

      December 7, 2012
  4. Oh, how I can identify with the lighting problems, Spree, for I, too, have tried to cook earlier. If the sun is shining that morning, I’ll start cooking, hoping to have both photos and lunch around noon. More often than not, clouds have rolled in by then and my photos are no better than they would have been if taken at 6:00. Luckily, we belong to a very understanding blogging community.
    You really are a queen of salads, Spree, and this one is a gem! Love the mix of bitter greens with roasted beets and goat cheese. This would make a wonderful lunch, with or without photos. 🙂

    December 5, 2012
    • Queen of salads? Hah John! 🙂 But I do confess to being a shameless salad junkie. All us food bloggers are facing similar sets of lighting challenges…it’s fun to see and hear how we try to meet them. To my mind, dinner for lunch works just fine! (ps, goat cheese with beets is SUCH a winner, but I know you need no convincing of that!)

      December 7, 2012
  5. Wow! This looks scrumptious. A feast for the eyes and a welcome rest for the over stuffed stomach from winter stews

    December 6, 2012
    • Jd, thank you! I have to admit to liking my food “pretty.” 🙂 and yes, I agree, these bits of lightness on our plates help offset some of the heaviness that tempts us (and finds us weak) this time of year. 🙂

      December 7, 2012
  6. I completely understand the lighting issues. Your photography is always so beautiful so dinner for lunch sounds like a glorious idea to solve your lighting issues. I love your idea of using hemp seeds. This light salad, especially around this time of the year, as it kind of balances out my intake all the desserts and cookies… Have a super weekend. BAM

    December 6, 2012
    • Thank you Bam so much for your comment! We food bloggers all come up against the same challenges, but the ways we meet them can turn out to be quite “rewarding.” the weekend’s upon us…have a great one!

      December 7, 2012
  7. Val #

    This is a timely recipe for me. Just yesterday I lifted the last of my beetroot… now to boil or roast?
    And Spree, rolling the cheese in the seeds is simply genius!

    December 6, 2012
    • Well, good fortune smiles on you again Val! 🙂 enjoy!

      December 7, 2012
  8. What a stunning salad! I love goats cheese and think the addition of those seeds is a stroke of genius! Bloody nom!

    December 6, 2012
    • Bloody nom! Haha! 😉 thanks!

      December 7, 2012
  9. What a great salad. I’m going for the easier route which doesn’t include hemp seeds, which I have never seen in France.

    December 6, 2012
    • You could probably find on line but that’s a bit of a bother and an expense. For similar flavor I’d go with toasted sesame seeds and perhaps some poppy for texture and stunning good looks. 🙂

      December 7, 2012
  10. This looks like Christmas! You always manage to add some surprising elements — to make a salad both accessible and intriguing at the same time. Hemp seeds, well I never! 😉

    December 6, 2012
    • I thought the same Ashley…a salad of Christmas. 🙂 Well you never? Well you should! 😉

      December 7, 2012
  11. Most of my photography is done at night as that´s when we eat (and late!). Lovely, lovely salad (love that book) and now I need to try hemp 🙂

    December 6, 2012
    • I love this book too Tanya. Have you seen Ripe yet? Equally lovely, all about fruit. Both of these have spent time on my bedside table, delicious sweet reading at night. (probably about the same hour you’re sitting down to eat your dinner!)

      December 7, 2012
      • Am hoping that Father Christmas might have it in his sack for me!

        December 9, 2012
  12. Goat cheese and beets! This looks so goooood!

    December 6, 2012
    • Thank you J! It is that! 🙂

      December 7, 2012
  13. I’ve never tried hemp seeds, but you make them sound so yummy (oh, you are good at that!!!)… I guess I’ll have to find them now 😉 This salad sounds and looks delicious. Thanks for sharing Miss Piggy 😉 (No offense!!!)

    December 6, 2012
    • Miss Piggy! 😉 love it, no offense taken! Just so I don’t run the risk of misleading you, hemp seeds are very very mild….which makes them very versatile and easy to incorporate these healthy little seeds into all sorts of dishes. It’s when they’re toasted – and toasted to the point of nutty aroma – that they become DELICIOUS.

      December 7, 2012
  14. This is an epic salad. It would probably make one jump very high and run very fast. And it would probably make one smarter and more artistic. I’m just guessing, of course, because it looks and sounds way fantastic. So, I’m going to assume that you are running and jumping and doing very smart, arty things…

    December 7, 2012
    • running and jumping and doing very arty things and making really big messes! heading to your place now Movita…maybe you keep a neater house! xx

      December 18, 2012
  15. Beautiful pictures and beets and goat cheese is such a great combination of flavors!!

    December 8, 2012
    • Ambrosiana, thank you for leaving such nice words! And i have to admit, this really IS a fine tasting salad! 🙂 (but you knew that because you already tasted it in your head!) 🙂

      December 18, 2012

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