Roasted Chioggia Beet and Gorgonzola Salad

This simple fall salad features chioggia beets, a beautiful candy stripe beet, that is both sweet and earthy. The beets are paired with spicy arugula and creamy goronzola for a well balanced salad that is anything but ordinary.

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As the weather cools and the colors outside shift from bright green to beautiful oranges and reds, I find myself craving different foods. All summer, I couldn’t get enough of this simple salad, and everything super light and fresh. But with a bit of a chill in the air, I find myself gravitating towards totally different vegetables. Thats the beauty of seasonal eating. I’ve traded in juicy heirloom tomatoes and crispy cucumbers for earthy beets, sweet squash, hearty dark leafy greens, and crunchy Brussels sprouts.

I have to admit, I used to hate beets. I blame it on never eating truly fresh beets (those sad, slimy, beets from a can found on your average salad bar just give the poor vegetable a bad name). I still remember getting beets in my first CSA and cringing at the fact that I had to cook them. But that was how I learned to like beets. And it turns out I was missing out.

So, if you’ve sworn off beets, get some from your local farmer’s market and try, try again.

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What are chiogga beets?

Chiogga beets look like a light pink beet from the outside and often have a white section near where the greens hit the root. But when you cut into them, you find beautiful surprise! They are also referred to as candy stripe beets due to their stripped interior that mimics the colors of a candy cane. They taste very similar to other beets, but make less of a mess than red beets as they are less likely to bleed everywhere. They are an easy way to impress dinner guests as they look like something really special!

They often come with the beet greens attached (as do other beets, but I find that they are less likely to be sold as just the root).

Note: If you can’t find chioggia beets, you can use red or yellow beets in this salad. I just like them for the aesthetic effect!

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What Should I Do with the Beet Greens?

When beets are sold with their greens, don’t toss them! They give kale a run for its money when it comes to nutrients and can add a nice earthy flavor to any dish. I asked people on instagram last week what they do with their beet greens and there were so many creative solutions! Basically, they can replace any other green you might have in your fridge. Here are a few ways you can use them:

  • Sautee with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, and enjoy as a side.

  • Add to soups, pastas, smoothies

  • Eat raw as a salad green

  • Make beet green pesto

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What are the health benefits of eating beets?

Both the beet roots and the greens are full of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium. They also offer a ton of phytonutrients (plant nutrients with health benefits), which can reduce inflammation and fight against many diseases. Beets also contain a natural form of nitrates, which in a concentrated beet juice form has been linked to improved athletic performance and lower blood pressure.

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While beets can be delicious on their own, this salad pairs them with spicy arugula and creamy gorgonzola to balance the sweetness, while a little fresh thyme enhances their earthy flavor. The flavors are so bold, yet fresh, you barely need any dressing — just a light drizzle of olive oil, some balsamic glaze (or balsamic vinegar if you’d don’t have the glaze), and a pinch of sea salt.

The beets can be roasted up to 3 days ahead, which is nice to do on a Sunday when you have time. Store them whole in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Then this salad comes together in minutes!

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Roasted Chioggia Beet, Gorgonzola and Arugula Salad

This simple fall salad features chioggia beets, a beautiful candy stripe beet, that is both sweet and earthy. The beets are paired with spicy arugula and earthy, creamy goronzola for a well balanced salad that is anything but ordinary.

Makes: 4 servings

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 1 large bunch (about 1 lb) of chioggia (or any kind) beets
  • 3 cups loosely packed arugula
  • 1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
  • 4-5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stalks
  • olive oil
  • balsamic glaze or a good balsamic vinegar
  • flakey sea salt, to taste

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Remove beet greens and save for later use. Wrap beets individually (or in sets of 2 if small) in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Leave the skins on for this. Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes, until cooked through but still firm. Cooking time depends on the size of the beets. If you prefer not to use foil, you can place beets unwrapped in a baking dish with sides, filled with about a 1/2 inch of water and follow the same instructions. You will lose some of the nutrients in the beets to the water, but it's a good alternative to using foil. When ready, remove from oven, and open foil packets. Let cool until you can handle them. Peel with fingers or a peeler (the peels should come off very easily now). Note, this can be done up to 3 days ahead. Store beets whole in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use.
  2. Slice beets thinly either using a sharp knive or mandolin into 1/8-inch thick circles. Add arugula to a medium platter or bowl. Top with beets, sliced onion and gorgonzola. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and thyme, then give a little toss.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar if you don't have glaze. Serve immediately.
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