This time of year, you’ll start to notice subtle swaps at the farmer’s market. Tomatoes and corn will be replaced with hearty root vegetables such as carrots, squashes, beets, and parsnips. Just the colors of these beautiful veggies should get you into the seasonal spirit. Autumn is my most favorite cooking time of the year; I am such a fan of oven roasting, and these types of vegetables yield such an amazing result! With the right temperature and technique, roasted vegetables will have a crunchy, salty, slightly charred exterior and perfectly tender, sweetly caramelized interior.
One of my favorite root vegetables is beets. Like okra, beets can look rather off-putting or unwieldy in their natural state, but once you’ve peeled away their rough exterior and let your oven work it’s roasting magic, they’re transformed into a savory-sweet delicacy.
Recently, I had the roasted beet salad at North Harbor Club in Davidson and have been dying to make a version of this salad at home. If you live in the Lake Norman area and have never been to North Harbor Club, make a reservation pronto! Not only is it one of the few restaurants on the lake (with plenty of boat slips!), but their menu consistently offers fresh, seasonal fare. Their beet salad consisted of a mix of roasted red and yellow beets, beautifully garnished with goat cheese, sunflower sprouts, and pistachios. It was a perfect complement to their scallops and my favorite specialty cocktail, the Lillet-It-Up (which I’ve replicated at home too!)
I swapped out the sunflower sprouts for peppery arugula and the goat cheese for a creamy Hungarian feta, giving my roasted beet salad a sweet and spicy kick. Not a bad way to ease into fall flavors, if you ask me!
- 4-5 large red or yellow beets (or a combination of both), peeled and largely diced
- 2-3 cups arugula
- 1 medium or 1/2 large heirloom tomato, cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup high-quality feta cheese (made with sheep or goat milk),diced
- 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped into large pieces
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ~1-2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
- Drizzle of honey
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spread peeled and chopped beets evenly on an aluminum foil covered (to prevent sticking) baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/8 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Gently toss mixture to coat. Roast about 25 minutes, turning once with a spatula until beets are tender. Remove from oven, let cool slightly before adding to salad.
- While the beets are roasting, prepare the rest of your salad. On a large platter, arrange arugula, tomatoes, feta, and pistachios. Dress salad with high-quality olive oil ( I recently discovered this olive oil and it’s amazing!), vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- When beets have slightly cooled, add on top of the salad. Drizzle with honey.