Heirloom Candy Stripe Beets and Goat Cheese Salad

Beet and goat cheese saladI’ve been wanting to do something with beets and goat cheese since our dinner at Bistrot L’Entrepont in Montreal where Cheryl had a beet and goat cheese mille-feuille. I played with that idea a little, but alas I just can’t get everything to come together as well as the chef did that night, so I turned to the always popular beet with goat cheese salad. However, the one problem which always occurs is: red beets make everything they touch pink. Hot pink even. Not the most visually enticing. Ah but wait, there’s a solution. Use different beets!

Candy stripe beets have been a staple of our weekly CSA this summer. They’re an heirloom variety and I recently read they do not bleed out like regular red beets. Golden beets too, I believe. After we received some in our CSA box I decided to test this. When I began peeling the beets after roasting them I noticed they were not leaking juice everywhere nor were they turning my fingers red. Excellent. I had just discovered the perfect beet for maintaining ingredient color integrity. (For the record, the salad above had been combined and in the fridge for a couple of days before I took its picture, plenty of time to potentially pinkify things. Note the cheese is still white!)

In addition to the beets we had some red kale from the CSA as well as one last kohlrabi from our patio garden. I thought they’d both pair up nicely with beets and goat cheese but had no idea how right I would be. Wow did I nail this one! There’s sweet from the beets, bitter from the red kale, a little zip from the kohlrabi, sour/acid from the vinaigrette, and the strong, sharp saltiness from the goat cheese. Every bite hits all of your taste buds with something. And then there’s the contrasting textures. Crunch from the kale and kohlrabi, soft from the beets and cheese. Sounds incredibly delicious, no? It is!

[Side Roam: Do I need to tell you to find a goat cheese with truffles like Cypress Grove’s truffle goat cheese? Didn’t think so, but just in case…do it!]

I am very happy with the way turned out but I think I’m even happier knowing I can go back and revisit all those failed beet recipes I’ve tinkered with which tasted good but were pink. Now, I’ll get to add beets to things I was afraid of coloring pink, like rice, farro, quinoa, etc. Why did it take me so long to learn this?

Heirloom Candy Striped Beet, Red Kale, Kohlrabi, and Goat Cheese Salad

  • 4-5 medium sized candy striped beets
  • 6 large red kale leaves, shredded
  • 1 medium kohlrabi, trimmed and diced
  • 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Citrus vinaigrette (lemon or orange)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Trim the tops off of the beets and set in a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast in oven for 60-90 minutes, depending on the size of the beets, until fork tender.

Allow beets to cool. Trim and peel skin off. Cut into a medium dice and set in a bowl.

Combine the rest of the ingredients. Make the vinaigrette by mixing 1 part acid: 3 parts oil. Whisk together ¼ C of your favorite sweet vinegar (orange, raspberry, apple) with ¾ C of olive oil. Drizzle desired amount into salad and toss. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Bask in the glow of everyone’s compliments on how awesome and colorful the salad is.

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