This is a hearty, delicious salad (another Food and Wine favorite from Tyler Florence) that works well for the main course or as a starter/side. Beets are one of those veggies that I didn’t discover a love for until they became popular in restaurants over the past 15 years or so. Now you can find a beet salad on practically any menu, and for good reason — they’re meaty and earthy and go perfectly with cheese and a dash of acid from lemon or vinegar. This salad uses beet greens, which are for the most part overlooked and thrown out. They’re actually delicious both raw and cooked. I grew up eating them boiled and topped with butter and salt — these days I’d recommend sautéing like you would spinach. The beet green salsa verde that tops this salad is fantastic. It’s a combo of chopped beet green stems, red onion, oil, vinegar and dill, and it gives a great hit of brightness.
- If you don’t want to roast your own beets, you can buy them already roasted and peeled in the produce section of the grocery store — you’ll just need to buy the beet greens (or replace out with another leafy green).
- Beets dye things really quickly, so make sure you wash your cutting board right away so it’s not stained pink.
- FRESH ricotta is key here — if you buy it in a packaged container, this dish just isn’t worth it. My grocery store here sells their own in the cheese section.
- Pomegranate seeds can be insanely expensive, so if you’re lucky enough to live in California, grab fresh pomegranates from the grocery or your friend’s yard and do it yourself (watch this video or you will have a miserable time).
- You could also substitute a different fruit for the pomegranate seeds or leave them out entirely.
- 2 1/4 pounds small or medium beets, scrubbed
- 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
- Sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 2 cups beet greens, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise into ribbons
- 1/2 cup minced beet green stems
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped dill, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 400°. Wrap the beets in foil and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, until tender when pierced. Unwrap and let cool.
Spread the ricotta on a platter. Cut the beets into chunks and arrange on the cheese. Season lightly with sea salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk the oil with the vinegar. Add the beet greens and stems, the onion and chopped dill and mix well. Season the salsa verde with sea salt and pepper and spoon over the beets. Scatter the pomegranate seeds on top, garnish with dill sprigs and serve.
The roasted beets can be refrigerated for 2 days. Return to room temperature before serving.