Roasted Beet and Pearl Onion Salad with Spinach, Pecans and Goat Cheese

by Kris on March 2, 2011

When I was around seven years old I was traumatized by a root vegetable. My mother had made a fresh batch of pickled beets and, being the pickle junkie I am, I ate an entire jar. Quite pleased by my accomplishment I spent the remainder of the evening bragging to my best friend about my super human abilities to devour so much food undetected.

The next morning I snickered as my mother tried to find the jar of beets she had made for her co-workers. With no avail she served me cereal and walked me to the school bus stop. On the bus I had the insatiable urge to pee and the bus seemed to stop at every single house on the block. When we finally reached the front of the school I rushed out the door and darted towards the nearest bathroom. Diverting a very close accident I sat down.

When I stood up I was shocked at what I saw. Peering into the toilet I saw a flood of magenta staring back at me. Convinced I was dying I ran to my teacher and holding back tears tried to explain. I told her I had secretly eaten an entire jar of beet pickles the night before and that I must have poisoned myself because now I pee blood!!

Holding back laughter my teacher explained that the perpetrator was not a deadly illness or beet poisoning but simply the reaction beets have on the human body. In a karmic way, my fear of death by beet was well deserved for devouring all my mother’s pickled beets.

Salad
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 Tsp kosher salt
3 Large beets
30 pearl onions
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup pecans
½ cup baby spinach
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ Tsp Dijon mustard
juice from ½ a lemon
½ Tsp. Maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400

Wash and dry beets and remove stems. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a tin foil lined baking dish and cover with additional foil.

Roast in the oven for 1 – 2 hours until beets are easily pierced with a fork. Remove foil and allow to cool.

In the meantime blanch the pearl onions in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Strain and place in an ice bath. Trim the root end of the onion and remove the skin. Toss the onions in remaining tablespoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Spread the onions on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, flipping onions and rotating pan half way trough. Remove from heat, set aside.

In a medium bowl combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Whisk until emulsified.

When the beets have cooled, remove skin and chop into bit sized pieces. Toss chopped beets, spinach, pecans and pearl onions in reserved vinaigrette. Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese.

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