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
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!