Recipe: Spinach Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

Sweet roasted beets and bright green spinach makes this a jewel colored salad filled with nutrients, antioxidants and healthy fats. The goat cheese adds a touch of creaminess while the nuts add a crunch to this healthy salad.

Spinach contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, and dietary fiber along with a wide variety of potential cancer-fighters which make it a nutritional powerhouse. Beets contain high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, They get their striking red color from betacyanin, a plant pigment that some preliminary research indicates might help defend cells against harmful carcinogens.

The citrusy sweetness of this spinach salad brings some summary flavors and is packed with fiber and nutrients. It is as flavorful and nutritious as its bold colors would suggest.



For the dressing:

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:

1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
4 medium beets, roasted (see how to roast beets below)
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, chives, parsley or a combination
1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted (walnuts may be substituted)



Make the dressing. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the vinegar’s and salt to taste.
Whisk in the mustard and the olive oil. Set aside.
Toss the spinach with 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Line a platter or individual plates.
Skin the beets and cut in half lengthwise (stem to root), then slice into thin half moons.
Place the sliced halves on top of the spinach and fan them out.
Drizzle on the remaining dressing and sprinkle on the herbs.
Top each fan of beets with crumbled goat cheese and pine nuts, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Advance preparation: Roasted beets will keep for about 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving:
230 calories; 19 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 11 grams monounsaturated fat; 11 milligrams cholesterol; 11 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 185 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 6 grams protein.

How to Roast Beets

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the greens away from the beets, leaving about 1/4 inch of stems.
Scrub the beets and place in a baking dish or  ovenproof casserole dish or a cast iron pan.
Add 1/4 inch of water to the dish. Cover tightly.
Place in the oven and roast small beets (three ounces or less) for 30 to 40 minutes, medium beets (four to six ounces) for 40 to 45 minutes, and large beets (eight ounces or more) for 50 to 60 minutes. They’re done when they’re easily penetrated with the tip of a knife.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the covered baking dish.
Cut away the ends and slip off the skins.
Don’t remove the skins until you are ready to use them!

Roasted beets are wonderful on their own or simply dressed with a vinaigrette, and they will keep for four- five days in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.

Option: Steamed Beets:

If I don’t have time to roast the beets (which makes them very sweet), then I steam them which takes less time…about 20 minutes if you cut the beets in half or in quarters. Do leave the skin on until you add them to the salad.

This recipe is adapted from Recipes for Health by Martha Rose Shulman