An elegant and colorful fall salad recipe featuring oven roasted beets on a bed of caraway crème topped with arugula and chopped walnuts.
An Autumn Update
Alright before we begin this post, I realize I’ve been significantly lacking in presence lately, as I was this spring. I had a very interesting and eventful summer that resulted in a number of life changes including separating from my husband, moving out of my house in West Seattle, moving to a different house near Auburn, going back to working at the hospital, and basically completely turning my world upside-down. Yeah, it’s a lot, I get that. Why did this happen? Well, I’m going to disappoint you and hold off on further explanation, but know at least that I’m happier right now and feeling like I’m taking better care of myself. With that, I feel like I’m finally able to get back to doing some of the other things that I love and that’s been extremely beneficial and healing. While I continue to get back into my groove, I’m going to post the last two blogs I prepared at my old house, including this one. I appreciate your love and support while I continue to get resettled and restart my domestic arts. Stay tuned for more updates as I roll out more recipes and crafts. Anyways, back to roasted beets and yummy salad…
Learn to Love Beets
Beets were not something that I had regularly growing up. When I first encountered them, it was as a kid in elementary school in the salad bar and they were not good. These were the chopped canned beets that many people likely saw and still see at most salad bars, sitting there between the container of sliced black olives and another of garbanzo beans. Perhaps an errant hunk of broccoli is sitting awkwardly in the middle of all of it. I don’t know, but you can tell this is not the best situation for ones first encounter with beets. As an adult, in my effort to continue to expand my food horizons, I decided to try beets again. This time, at work, in a specialty salad served in the hospital cafeteria. Again, I realize that probably still doesn’t sound very appealing, but the cafeteria at the hospital I work at makes shockingly good food, so I trusted that this had to be a decent salad or it wouldn’t be on the menu. The salad, which has since become a regular feature, features roasted beets – something I had never had before and realized was the key to this root really becoming something wonderful and complex.
Beets are another one of those super foods that we don’t often eat enough of. Likely because as I mentioned above, we only ever encounter them in sad salad bars. However, beets contain tons of healthy antioxidants and vitamins, many of which directly support inflammation reduction which is super important for those with chronic illnesses and weakened immune systems1. Beets also contain lots of folate, which may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and mental illness2. Additionally, they also contain a ton of fiber, helping to fill you up and keep you fuller for longer which is a great way to avoid unhealthy snacking between meals.
Tips for Cooking with Beets
I have had enough experiences with beets and turning my hands and everything else in the kitchen a shade of magenta to know that before you start doing any work, you should:
- Change your clothes or don an apron
- Get out a plastic cutting mat
- Put on some latex or other gloves
Once the skin comes off the beets, the juices and flesh will stain anything porous or absorbent it touches. I have ruined enough wood cutting boards and nice tops to know. The beets also become extremely slippery when you start peeling them, so be mindful of your grip as you peel or cut them so that you do not accidently injure yourself or let the beet escape your prep area.
I typically first peel my beets before slicing them for this recipe. I do not boil them or anything to get the skin off, I feel that is an even worse slippery mess than just carefully peeling the beets with a vegetable peeler.
Roasted Beet Salad with Caraway Crème
Based on Melissa Clark’s Roasted Beet, Caraway, and Crème Fraiche Salad with Arugula from Dinner in French: my recipes by way of France
Clark, Melissa. “Roasted Beet, Caraway, and Creme Fraiche Salad with Arugula.” Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York, New York, 2020, pp. 68–70.
- 2 ½ lbs. beets, peeled and sliced into eighths
- 4 tbsp olive oil, plus more as required
- ½ tsp flakey sea salt, plus more as required
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp whole grain mustard
- 1 cup crème fraiche
- 2 tbsp chopped dill, plus more for garnish
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 cups arugula
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining with aluminum foil and lightly coating with olive oil.
- In a large glass bowl, toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the salt, and the pepper. Spread out evenly on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 45 – 60 mins or until beets are caramelized and fork tender.
- In that same large bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly, in a steady stream, whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until emulsified with the vinegar-mustard mixture. Pour half the vinaigrette into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Once the beets come out of the oven and have cooled until they are warm to the touch, toss them in the large bowl with the vinaigrette and allow them to continue to cool.
- In a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder, gently pound and crush the caraway seeds until they are coarsely broken up.
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed caraway, crème fraiche, chopped dill, garlic, and a pinch of salt.
- Toss the arugula together with the remaining vinaigrette in the medium bowl. Add more olive oil if the greens seem too dry for your preferences.
- For serving, you can either serve individually or make to share on a large serving dish. Start by spreading a bed of the caraway crème on a plate or serving dish. Spoon the beets onto the dish and top with the arugula. Sprinkle with the walnuts and more dill for garnish. Serve immediately.
- Coyle, Daisy. “9 Impressive Health Benefits of Beets.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 26 May 2017, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-beets.
- “Folate (Folic Acid) – Vitamin B9.” The Nutrition Source, 2 July 2019, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/folic-acid/.