Roasted Beet Salad - 4 Servings
FOR THE BEET SALAD:
1 pound medium beets tops and roots trimmed (about 6 beets)
1 sprig thyme
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
3 ounces arugula
1 small pear, diced
1/2 cup candied, salted shelled pecans (you can purchase these already candied), divided
1/3 cup dried cranberries, divided
4 ounces goat cheese, feta, or gorgonzola crumbled and divided
FOR THE DRESSING:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced or grated (about 1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.
Wrap the beets in two layers of aluminum foil and in a 9×13-inch baking dish or similar dish large enough to hold them comfortably in a single layer.
Pour in a splash of champagne vinegar in with the beets, 1 sprig of thyme, 2 cloves of garlic, cracked black pepper and season with salt, cover with foil, and bake until the beets feel tender in the center when pierced with a small, sharp knife, 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or longer depending upon the size of your beets.
Transfer the beets to a cutting board and let stand until cool enough to handle. If you are concerned about staining your cutting board, lay a sheet of parchment paper over it first.
While the beets cook, prepare the balsamic dressing: in a medium mixing bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients—olive oil, balsamic, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Once the beets are cool enough to handle but are still warm, with a paper towel, rub away the beet skins. If they are stubborn and stick, peel them with a small, sharp knife. Dice each beet into 3/4-inch pieces (or cut into wedges if you prefer), then place in a large serving bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the warm beets, then stir to coat (the beets absorb dressing better when they are warm).
Add the arugula to the bowl with the beets. Toss to combine. Top with about two-thirds each of the pear, pecans, cranberries, and goat cheese. Toss once more, adding more of the remaining dressing as desired. The arugula should be slightly moist but not drowning.
Sprinkle the remaining pecans, cranberries, and goat cheese over the top. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.