Some of you (yes, you know who you are, baby sis and big bro!) may have heard me waxing on poetically about the humble beet. I love them and am always looking for ways to add them in to my diet when they’re available at the grocery or farmer’s market.
Beets come in all shapes, sizes or colors, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. Horrid little tubers they are, until cooked – when their gorgeous color and texture makes them shine like gems. Did you ever collect rocks when you were a kid? They were all rather dull and nondescript until you wet them with water – then they were glittering crystals from an exotic land. That’s the beet.
Be sure to rinse (very well) the tops and use in salads or steam – cooked they don’t amount to much but they, like the beet, are extremely good for you. Read what the World’s Healthiest Foods says about the humble beet.
I think one of the most beautiful lettuces is the red lettuce – and it pairs beautifully with the beets in this salad, and a butter or bib lettuce works just as well. A hint of goat cheese, a few red onions and my Honey Citrus Vinaigrette (I could almost drink that stuff) make for an amazing “Gourmet” salad with only a few ingredients. (Child number 1 said she had a single serving of a similar salad a restaurant for $17.00.)
This salad looks even more “Gourmet” with various colors of beet, but it tastes just as good with the common garden beet. By the way, don’t like goat cheese, can’t find it at your store or it costs too much – see my strategies below, but a little dry cottage cheese or another mild white cheese (farmers?) will give the creamy touch this salad needs. I accidentally (yes, me, the one who eschews almost all crazy innovations in the food world) picked up a Honey Goat cheese – it was amazing in this.
Now, if your Gram had served her beets like this, you might have a whole different attitude about them…
The Beet Goes on Salad
- 1 bunch of Roasted Beets, skinned, trimmed and sliced
- 1 bunch of Red, Bibb or Butter Lettuce
- 1/4 to 1/2 Red Onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 log goat cheese, scraped & crumbled with a fork
- Honey Citrus Vinaigrette (see recipe)
Roast beets in oven: Wash, remove greens, place on a sheet of foil and wrap well, closing at the top. Place on a pan and roast in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. Open package carefully, let cool. Slip off skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Slice into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.
In a large bowl, place washed and torn lettuce leaves and red onion. Toss with dressing. Place on platter or serving dishes, sprinkle with goat cheese, arrange beets on either side.
Note: This is an acidic vinaigrette and will wilt a delicate green like red lettuce. Dress it right before serving! It doesn’t hurt, if you think you’ll only eat part of the salad to dress just a portion of the greens. The goat cheese, too is delicate. Don’t toss it in the salad, sprinkle it on top.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
- I apologize, the pricing of this salad has escaped me! Shop well and seasonally and it’s really not that much to make. If you want to go high-end on the goat cheese, farmers market vegetables, it will obviously be a bit more.
- I double or more any vinaigrette I make. The tart acid from the vinegar helps to prevent spoiling and they keep for weeks and weeks in the fridge in my favorite little salad jars (donated Starbucks latte bottles!) This Honey Citrus Vinaigrette is one of my favorites and super versatile. Make a lot!
- Goat Cheese: a normally expensive ingredient, but for a simple salad like this, use a grocery store goat cheese – they qualify for the same buying strategy as any “near deli” cheese. This is my term for the grocery store “fancier” cheeses often found near the deli – Of course, if your budget allows, buy the best cheeses you can afford, but those on a budget shouldn’t shy away from dishes that need a little more punch from their cheese for monetary or taste reasons. While one may not wish to put a grocery store cheese out for a tasting, for instance, most are just fine in dishes or sprinkled on top, and can be bought for very little money by watching sales and using coupons.
- Pick the coupons up (generally on hang tags near the cheese) when you see them, not when you want to buy them. Sales seldom seem to happen at the same time the coupons are out, but most of the coupons have very long expiration dates. Hang on to them and use them when sales pop up. Watch your coupon matching sites, too – they’ll let you know when the sale is and if the producer has any coupons on their websites. I’ve often gotten things like goat cheese, tubs of ricotta or balls of mozzarella, etc., for no cost or just pennies.
- Red Lettuce: Buy on sale and you’ll find it doesn’t cost any more than plain old Romaine. Fancier lettuces can often be picked up at Aldi for a song. 99 cents.
- Beets: These vary wildly in price depending on the sales and the seasons. It may be very well worth looking at the farmer’s market. If you have extra beets, don’t waste them – pickle them. We always had pickled beets on hand, and often just reheated the pickling brine for the next batch.
- Red Onion: Red Onions do go on sale now and then, but store really well. I often look for them at Aldis. Even not on sale, a half an onion is about 20 cents. Peel your onions carefully, leaving as many layers intact as possible…most of the healthful nutrients (just like with many vegetables) lie just below the skin. I used part of the onion in the slaw, and priced it there. If I don’t have an immediate use for my onion, I’ll wrap the rest in plastic and place in the door of the fridge where I’ll see it. Cost 10 cents.
Don’t you dare waste vegetables! Any vegetables! Gramma Frau says so…but one way to preserve a few left over is to store them in a simple brine and pickle them. Obviously, some pickle better than others, but you’d be surprised how many pickle well. The Beet is one of them.
If you’re making a small amount from a left over vegetable just to put in the fridge, no need to go through a canning processes and seal in a boiling water bath. Just heat the brine, pour over the vegetable in the jar and refrigerate. This is based on my Grandma’s recipe.
Simple Refrigerator Beets
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water (or beet juice if you’ve cooked your beets in water)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cloves
- 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
- 1 small piece bay leaf
- 4 whole black peppercorns
- 2 beets, cooked and sliced
Bring all ingredients except beets to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cover and simmer a few minutes.
Stir together all ingredients, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate. Makes one 8 ounce jar. When finished, the same pickling juice can be heated again and reused for the next batch. It just gets better and better. A bit of liquid may need to be added.
Note: if you are pickling to can and store, there is a whole different process. This is for the refrigerator, only.