Beets and goat cheese are a classic favorite combo for a reason. Sweet, earthy beets play so well with tangy goat cheese. And in this refreshing salad, they’re not the only stars of the show.
Recipe developer Maren Epstein of Eating Works unites a bounty of flavors, textures, and colors to create such a wonderful salad that ticks a ton of nutritional boxes. A hearty, fiber-rich kale base is tossed with a sweet and spicy vinaigrette. Juicy clementines, crisp green beans, and fresh mint contribute bright, refreshing flavors to this dish.
Goat’s milk cheese is an excellent choice for this salad, as it’s lower in both fat and lactose than cow’s milk cheese, and it’s naturally homogenized, adding a creamy component to the salad that’s easy to digest (via The Spruce Eats). Rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, K, and C, this salad is a nutritional powerhouse that’s tough to beat.
Gather the ingredients for beet and goat cheese salad
The ingredients list for this salad is relatively short: lacinato kale forms the bulk of the salad, a choice Epstein says makes the salad "crunchy without being curly and hard to chew." Any soft, creamy goat cheese works well — a plain one is great, but a cheese with herbs mixed in could add even more flavor, Epstein suggests.
Green beans, clementines, and beets round out this salad nicely. For the latter, choose vacuum-packed beets rather than jarred ones, which may have added sugar. Or, simply roast your own from raw, but take care to cook them ahead of time, because this process can take up to an hour, and then you’ll need to wait for them to cool.
Marinate the onions for the beet and goat cheese salad
Red onion adds beautiful flavor, texture, and color to this salad. To cut a bit of that raw bite, Epstein calls for marinating it in a bit of apple cider vinegar while the rest of the salad comes together. This will ensure that the onion works with the other ingredients in the salad rather than overpowering them. This is also a neat trick for any recipe calling for raw onion, like guacamole or homemade salsa.
Prepare the kale for the beet and goat cheese salad
While the onion marinates, it’s time to prepare the kale. First, remove the hard, center rib from each leaf, which is unfortunately tough to chew. With that discarded, roll each leaf up on itself, stacking four or five at a time, and slice with a chef’s knife. "I love using lacinato kale for this salad, because it’s easy to cut into long ribbons," Epstein notes of this technique, which is called chiffonade.
Make the dressing for the beet and goat cheese salad
Next, it’s time to whip up the dressing, a savory combo of olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and cayenne pepper. These rich flavors really stand up to all of the assertive ingredients in the salad. "The dressing makes the salad," says Epstein. And as in any salad where the oil isn’t cooked, she adds, "It is worth it to splurge on a good quality oil since the flavor is so prominent in the dressing."
Supreme the clementines for the beet and goat cheese salad
Next up, it’s time to supreme the clementines. This basically means removing not just the peel but any bitter white pith on the outside of the slices. It’s a technique done not with the fingers, but with a sharp paring knife.
First, slice off the top and bottom of each clementine, taking care to remove as little fruit as possible while also removing all of the pith. This will give the clementines a stable base on which to stand. Next, letting the curve of the fruit guide you, remove the peel from all sides of the clementines. Cut them into segments, avoiding any remaining membrane, and they’re ready to use.
For Epstein, clementines are not the only citrus that could be used in this salad. "Any type of orange would work with this recipe," she says. "It just helps to supreme them so that they’re soft and extra sweet."
Assemble and serve the beet and goat cheese salad
Everything’s almost ready, so let’s get this party started! If you haven’t already done so, slice the green beans and beets into bite-sized pieces. Strain the vinegar from the onions, and then, in a large salad bowl, combine the kale, beets, string beans, goat cheese, mint, and onions. Lightly drizzle the salad with dressing, and you’re good to go. Serve immediately, and enjoy all that goodness while taking comfort in knowing that this salad is as healthy as it is delicious.
- ¼ cup red onion, small diced
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ bunch lacinato kale
- 1 cup pre-cooked beets, sliced
- 2 clementines, supremed
- ½ cup string beans, sliced
- ½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ tablespoon olive oil
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Combine the diced onion and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar in a small container.
- Slice the kale into thin ribbons by removing the stems. Stack four or five leaves on top of one another, and roll like sushi. Slice thinly with a knife horizontally to achieve long ribbons.
- In a small bowl, combine ¼ tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar. Whisk together with a fork until combined.
- Supreme the clementines by slicing off the peel and pith with a paring knife. Use the knife to slice fleshy wedges out of the pith so no white is on the orange. If this is too hard, simply peel and separate the oranges into sections.
- Strain the apple cider vinegar out of the onions.
- In a salad bowl, combine the kale, beets, string beans, goats cheese, mint, and onions in a bowl. Lightly drizzle the salad with dressing and serve immediately.