You throw beets on anything, and you’re pretty much guaranteeing that I’m going to freaking love it. Love the color, love the flavor, love everything.
Which is why my new favorite salad at one local restaurant is the “Duelling Beets,” a plate full of fresh mixed greens topped with roasted beets of two colors, pecans, blue cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. It’s stupid good, though I find it hard to justify going to this particular restaurant every night. Even if they do have the best coconut cake in the entire world.
Anyway, I became convinced that I could make this salad at home.
Instead of turning on the oven and roasting a beet, which would have caused temperatures in my apartment to soar into the 100-degree range, I used my new spiral slicer and made little ribbons out of a raw beet that actually looked much cooler than the chunks I had originally planned. I also chose to candy the pecans with honey, adding a hint of sweetness to the dish and providing a nice foil for the pungent blue cheese and sharp balsamic.
Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the blue cheese for this recipe. Yes, you can use spinach or well-massaged kale instead of the mixed greens; yes, you can use a golden beet instead of the red one; yes, you can use a julienne peeler instead of a spiral slicer, or even use a regular peeler for wider curls of beet. If you use a regular peeler, though, go around the beet like you would if you were trying to peel an apple with one long curl. You’ll get better results that way.
In short, you can do whatever you want, but buy good, gluten-free blue cheese. You should be able to smell it through the cellophane. That’s a little indelicate, but picture me in the middle of the grocery store sniffing wedges in the cheese section. That’s exactly what I did to make sure I bought the right kind, and I expect nothing less from you. You’ll thank me later.
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1 beet
- 3 oz blue cheese (I used Maytag), crumbled
- Balsamic vinegar and olive oil, to taste
- First, toss pecans with honey and stir until fully coated. Place in an oven at 350 degrees or, as I did, in a toaster oven, and bake until honey hardens and everything is toasty and smelling awesome. Set aside; let cool.
- Place greens on individual plates: two for an entree-sized salad, four for side salads. Place the beet in a spiral cutter and set cutter to desired thickness; continue until entire beet has been cut. You may also use a julienne peeler or a vegetable peeler.
- Artfully arrange beet curls over the greens; top with candied pecans and crumbled blue cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste, if desired.
- If you like, skip toasting the pecans. They're still yummy, you just don't get a little sweet punch.