Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published in 2008.
Growing up, the only beet I ever ate was a sickly sweet one straight from a can.
Naturally, I was apprehensive when I picked up my first Community Supported Agriculture bag more than a decade ago and discovered a bunch of gnarly-looking beets freshly dug from the dirt.
But by that point in my life I was lucky enough to have tasted a favorite go-to salad combination served by chefs at upscale restaurants: beets and goat cheese. It’s an inspired match, the tang of the cheese playing off of the sweet earthiness of the beets.
The Star’s Beet Salad With Pistachios and Feta takes a familiar twist but goes one better, adding a handful of buttery pistachios to create a beautiful, flavorful and highly nutritious dish.
Beets contain plenty of fiber, folate and potassium. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their vivid magenta color, is also a cancer-fighting compound.
Consuming nuts more than five times a week can reduce your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. The fiber, protein and unsaturated fat in nuts are also considered a valuable weight management tool because they give a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
Shopping tip: Beets are available year-round but peak season is May to October. Choose beets with a firm, smooth skin. If the greens are still attached they should be bright green. Remove the greens and wrap the beets loosely in a plastic bag before placing them in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator; you can store them up to 3 weeks.
Preparation tip: A box grater works for shredding beets, but the food processor is a much easier and quicker way to get the job done. Take care when working with beets; the juice will stain hands, clothing and even the kitchen sink.
Beet Salad With Pistachios and Feta
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium beets, peeled
4 cups baby romaine
2 tablespoons pistachios
2 tablespoons feta cheese
Whisk together orange juice, vinegar and honey. Drizzle olive oil into mixture and whisk until blended; set aside.
Place beets through the shredding disc of a food processor. Toss beets with half of dressing mixture.
Toss romaine with remaining dressing and divide among 4 salad plates. Top each plate with beets. Sprinkle with pistachios and feta cheese.
Per serving: 108 calories (67 percent from fat), 8 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 162 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.