I love beets, especially roasted beets. And this smashed beet salad with goat cheese is the perfect combination of flavors, textures, and temperatures.
Smashed potatoes are a thing on the internet these days. And for good reason: the crumbly potato insides and the crispy potato outsides. With parsley pesto, garlic butter and parmesan, or avocado aioli, these are golden nuggets of goodness.
But I’m in a camp of only being able to eat so many potatoes. No matter how small, I fill up fast. So I turned to another rounded vegetable: beets. And to my delight, I’m not the first one to smash and fry beets. While perusing old cookbooks and recipe magazines, I stumbled upon a recipe for crushed beets in Bon Appetit.
I took it as a sign that smashed beet salad needed to happen in my life.
Smashed Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
We’ve had cold dreary weather lately. So the bright color of a golden or chioggia beet is a welcome sight. The warm, roasted beets are tender and sweet. I like roasted beets the best so I roasted them whole to cut back on some prep time.
Alternatively, you could slice the beets so they roast more quickly. When it comes to roasted vegetables, I typically prefer to roast low and slow. In this instance, because the beets are wrapped in foil and whole, I roasted them at a higher temperature to get them cooking.
Pan frying the roasted, smashed beets, gives them a great crispy, caramelized skin. It’s an extra step of effort but worth the investment in my opinion.
The second component of this salad is the goat cheese. It adds a creamy tang to the earthy sweetness of the beets. In fact, roasted beets with goat cheese is one of my favorite salads (alongside a good caesar salad and all its variations). If you don’t like the flavor of goat cheese, you swap for ricotta or soft mozzarella. See the recipe notes below for some additional substitutions.
To add some texture and a contrast of color, I sprinkled crushed pistachios on the plated beet salad with goat cheese. Salted or unsalted pistachios would do, depending on your preference. The orange juice dressing adds some acidity. If you have omitted the goat cheese, you could add a squeeze of lemon to the dressing or use a slightly sour orange.
The presentation of the dish is a messy, glorious, delicious heaping of ingredients. My favorite kind.
Smashed Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
- 2 pounds small beets ends trimmed and scrubbed
- 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
Heat oven to 400°F.
Place whole beets on a foiled lined baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over beets. Wrap with foil.
Roast beets for 50 to 60 minutes until very tender.
While beets are roasting, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange zest, and orange juice.
When beets are tender, remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. Peel beets then smash with a bowl or plate.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Place smashed beets in the pan and fry 3 to 4 minutes each side until lightly crisp.
Transfer smashed beets to a plate. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with goat cheese and crushed pistachios.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Smaller beets will cook more quickly. If you want to reduce cooking time further, you can quarter or slice beets and skip the smashing part. Pan frying the roasted beets adds a lovely texture and flavor to this smashed beet salad with goat cheese.
Omit the goat cheese or swap with a tangy cashew cheese.
Check the Fridge
Classic beet salads are often served with peppery arugula. If you have some, you can serve the smashed beet salad with goat cheese on top of a bed of greens or toss the greens with the salad. If you don’t have pistachios, slivered almonds or toasted walnuts make a good substitute.