I remember my mom making pineapple baby beets when I was a kid. I never ate them. I was afraid of them. Beets? Ewwwww! Now, the pineapple, I could understand that. I loved pineapple. But those weird little red things that stain everything they touch? Why would you ever eat them? Well, the answer I now know is that they are GREAT! I love beets! I smoke them. I roast them. And I mix them with pineapple and devour them! A bit of sweet and a bit of earthiness, they disappear in no time, something I never thought I’d say. You can use fresh beets for these pineapple baby beets too. Just cook them first, and let them cool for a bit before chopping (unless you somehow were lucky enough to find raw baby beets) and adding in to the mix.
Wow. I love beets, but I really wasn’t expecting these smoked beets with balsamic glaze to be so amazing. The perfect combination of flavors, starting with just a hint of smoke and ending with goat cheese drizzled with a fantastic balsamic glaze. The more I cook, the more I find myself using balsamic vinegar in my dishes, and it certainly was a star in this one. If you don’t have a smoker you can still make these beets. Just toss them in a 375 F oven and roast them until tender. They won’t have that light smoky flavor, but they will still be great with the glaze and cheese.
In a pinch you can skip using fresh beets. Grab canned or jarred, slice and serve with the remaining ingredients. Or just make my non-smoked beet but-still-really-great beet salad.
If you would’ve put beets in front of me when I was a kid I would’ve said “Ewwwww” and pushed them away. Now, I find that I really like them, specially when roasted. Or pickled. Or even better, spiralized, roasted, and pickled! The aroma as the beets roast is fantastic. The shallots and rosemary combine with the beets for something really special. They then go into jars with a brine, but not a normal pickling brine. The addition of red onions and tarragon add so much to the beets. Even beet haters will love them! Make sure you wear kitchen gloves when handling the beets, and clean your spiralizer (and cutting board) immediately after using them. I also learned quickly that you want to use beets with a little ‘give’ to them – not too hard. A few that I grabbed were hard to spiralize, and I ended up turning them by hand instead of using the crank. No worries, they still came out fantastic! Lesson learned!
Now, sure you can roast beets in your oven. Or even on your grill. But if you have a Char-Broil Big Easy, you should use it instead. The Big Easy is one of the best and easiest outdoor cookers you can find. No mess. No fuss. Perfect for everything from chicken to pies to yes, beets. Just brush the beets with a little oil, vinegar and spices and into the cooker. An hour or so later, perfectly roasted beets.
After the beets cooled I peeled them and sliced them for topping a great side salad. They were perfect! Using beets that are roughly the same size will ensure that they all get done at the same time, a big plus.
As simple as this roasted beet salad is, it is packed full of great flavors. The roasted beets have such a wonderful sweetness to them. The balsamic vinegar and oil dressing really quiets all that sweetness. Last, the tang of Feta cheese finishes it all off perfectly. As soon as I took my first bite I grabbed my phone and added this recipe to my Thanksgiving meal to-do list. Of course, you can make this salad any time of the year, but I can definitely see it quickly becoming a holiday favorite. I keep a spreadsheet on Google docs for any menu ideas that hit me. That way, no matter where I am at, I can make a note about a recipe that might be good to make in the future. Like this roasted beet salad, which I just added to my Thanksgiving menu!