Have I ever told you I’m wild about Beets? We had a rough start, beets and I did, way back in elementary school. Canned beets, blech! But garden fresh beets? They’re another story altogether. So if you haven’t had beets in awhile, “…all I’ma sayin’ is give beets a chance…” ♬
Did you know that when you popped onto my blog you’d not only get great recipes, but also bad puns. No extra charge. But that leads me into this great salad. Jewel like beets, peppery arugula, and creamy goat cheese all punctuated with chewy dried cherries and crunchy pecans. It’s got everything you’d want in a salad.
If there’s a more perfect fall salad, I don’t know what it is. Until I make it, then that one will be my perfect salad…Seriously, this is a wonderful combo of flavors and textures that all play off each other beautifully. If you’ve got a thing about goat cheese, try a little fresh mozzarella in this. And if you like bacon, you couldn’t go wrong by adding a small handful.
Sometimes I’ve been horrified by the price of arugula at the store and substituted spinach or a combo of greens – this year I got smart and planted a couple of plants and they kept us in arugula all summer and way into fall. It’s October now and it’s still growing strong even after a couple of frosts…think about it for next year.
Look for goat cheese on special and use coupons for it – you’ll find coupons on hang tags or on the producer’s site and hang on to them until a sale hits. Dried fruits and nuts are usually at their lowest right before the winter holidays; I stock up then. If cherries are pricey, look for dried cranberries. They’re wonderful in this, too.
Arugula, Goat Cheese & Beet Salad
- 4 beets, cooked and quartered *
- 4 – 6 cups fresh arugula
- 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
- 3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
In a small bowl, toss beet quarters with enough dressing to coat. Set aside while the rest of the salad is being made.
Toast the pecans in a small pan over medium heat until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Toss the arugula, pecans and cherries in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper. Arrange the beets around the salad. Sprinkle with goat cheese, and serve.
* To cook beets: Cut off tops and stems. Wrap in a single layer in a foil packet. Roast in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. When cool enough to handle, remove skins under running water – they should slip off easily, but if necessary, use a small knife . May be done a day or two ahead and refrigerated, well drained and tightly covered.
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis