I was very smart to sign up for a CSA this summer from Harvest Tide Organics. It’s a small, family-run operation out of Bowdoinham, ME; the hard-working proprietors, Bethany and Eric, could not be any nicer. Each Thursday, four lucky colleagues and I have boxes of gorgeous produce delivered to the office; highlights this summer include shishito peppers, strawberries, new red potatoes, cherry tomatoes, my beloved Hakurei turnips, and some seriously good beets. At first I planned to limit how many beets I was getting because really, how many ways can you prepare them? My repertoire was borscht, but not usually in the summer, and beet salad with bleu cheese. But these beets have been so fresh and delicious… I knew I needed to branch out with some new recipes so I can get as many as possible each week.
This composed salad is my current favorite. It looks a little fancy and really could not be easier: the beets are roasted and cooled, tossed in a simple vinaigrette and served over a Greek yogurt sauce. You can use a combination of colors and sizes. Sometimes I put some crumbled feta cheese over the top, as pictured, but most often I serve the salad without. Besides being so pretty to look at, it tastes fresh, comes together in about 5 minutes, and works really well as leftovers. If you have trouble finding za’atar in your grocery store, try fresh dill instead– you can add to the yogurt sauce or chop finely and use as a garnish. With this salad as an option, I say bring on the beets! I’ll take as many as I can get. Comment and let us know your favorite way to prepare them.
Roasted Beet Salad with Yogurt and Za’atar
- 1 lb. beets, any color or size
- 3 T. good olive oil
- 3 T. white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt (2% or 5% are best)
- juice of half a lemon
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. za’atar (optional)
- feta cheese to crumble (optional)
To roast the beets, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Trim any roots, fibers or hard pieces off and wash; there is no need to peel. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Roast for an hour; if your beets are tiny or very large, you may need to adjust the time, but that is a good benchmark for tennis ball-sized beets. Remove from the oven to a plate or bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly cool. You can do this step several days ahead with no problem.
When you are ready to make the salad, combine the Greek yogurt, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly. Spread the yogurt mixture evenly on the plate or bowl you will use to serve the salad and top with black pepper.
Combine the olive oil and vinegar in a medium bowl. Unwrap the foil from each beet and remove the skin; it should slip off easily. Trim any remaining tough areas. Slice a beet in half, then each half into small moons; you can make them as small, thin or thick as you like. Place the beets into the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. (If you are using different color beets, start with lighter yellow or pink and work up to your deep reds.) Place each marinated beet onto your yogurt mixture. You can be as deliberate as you want in making a pattern, or just heap them up. Repeat this step until all beets are coated in vinaigrette and placed.
Sprinkle the top with another pinch of kosher salt– this is a good opportunity to use any fancy salt you have– and the za’atar. Crumble feta over the salad, if using. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Optional additions: Try mixing one clove of crushed garlic into your yogurt sauce. Incorporate fresh chives or thinly-sliced red onion. Add hot or cold roasted carrots in with the beets. There are so many great ways to mix it up!