By Kat Wojtylak
This salad comes together with the nutty creaminess of the pistachio, sweetness from baked beets, peppery arugula and some tangy pecorino cheese. You get textures and many flavor notes to balance the salad out. Simple but elegant enough for entertaining, or just to help liven up your mundane weeknight meals.
For those of you who are thinking “ewww beets,” bear with me and try this recipe. You can always pick them off later. Beets can be cooked similarly to that of a potato or carrot. You can roast them, boil them, fry them, etc. However for a non-beet enthusiast, I choose baking. I start by cutting off the greens, washing them and then baking them in an oven. When they’re done, you simply let them cool and peel with your hands. You can also boil them, but if you do that and you have a variety of beet with stripes, the colors will bleed and you’ll loose those beautiful striations (and much of the taste too). I wholeheartedly believe though that after trying this you may think twice about these root vegetables you’ve chosen to hate since you were a child. Not to mention, baking beets seems to concentrate their flavor and sweetness so you’re getting farther away from the canned varieties.
Source as much as you can locally for this recipe, which should be easy this time of year. Bake the beets when you’re in the shower the night prior, and just dig in! There’s not much to do other than to enjoy some much needed down time and good food.
To full plates and eating your tarte out,
Arugula Beet Salad
3 medium sized whole beets, any variety
1/2 cup of pistachios
4 cups (10 oz) of baby arugula
1/2 cup of shaved pecorino
1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar (good quality)
1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, remove greens from the beets leaving about a 1/4 inch of the stems. Scrub thoroughly. Place a piece of foil directly on oven racks and place beets on top. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until they give slightly when you press on them. Cool completely.
Once the beets are cool, rub your thumb gently on the skin, it should come off easily. Remove all skin and trim as needed. Slice beets into around 1/8 inch thick slices. Set aside.
In a skillet (without oil), heat the pistachios on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Flip every few minutes to bring out the flavor of the nut without burning them. Allow to cool completely.
Either divvy up your arugula into four plates, or set leaves into one large serving bowl. Place the beets onto of the arugula, next add the pistachios and finally the pecorino. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve.
In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk till incorporated to form your vinaigrette. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
When ready to serve allow guests to dress their salads with your homemade vinaigrette. Enjoy!
About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.