The really good organic heirloom tomatoes have just hit the farmer’s market: plump, juicy, tangy and sweet. I know it’s hard at the moment to think of eating a dish that doesn’t revolve around a tomato of some sort, but this tasty beet salad is so good and deliciously refreshing that I had to share it. The colorful, freshly dug baby beets at the market right now are so tender that they need little more than a splash of vinegar and olive oil to bring out their sweet earthy flavor. The addition of mint and salty feta give the salad a bright, fresh flavor with a little buttery crunch from the toasted pistachios.
In this intense summer heat my meals have become increasingly simple—l frequently return to variations of old favorites like tomatoes on toast or quinoa with various toppings (which you see plenty of on instagram). I still cook something every couple of days that can last for a few meals—simple grains, chickpeas or the beets from this salad. Marinated beets combine well with grains or beans and can become a quick lunch with the addition of lots of chopped parsley and scallions, some kraut and avocado or feta. They also make a great snack on rice cakes smeared with fresh goat cheese.
I was lucky enough to have Stephen Johnson capture these images. You can see more of his work at stephendotcom.com
Marinated beet salad with feta, pistachios and mint
When the baby beets are fresh they hardly need any time marinating, but they can also be made up to 3 or even 4 days in advance. If you toast the nuts ahead too then it all comes together in minutes. If you don’t mind the feta absorbing some of the pink juices, it sits well after assembly as well.
If it’s too hot to turn the oven on, you can toast the pistachios in a skillet over low to medium heat. Stir every few seconds so they cook evenly, it will take about 5 minutes or so.
3 bunches baby beets, about 12 red or golden or a mix
1 tablespoon unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup raw shelled pistachios
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
3 oz goat milk feta, drained
Beet micro greens to garnish, optional (it’s called Bull’s blood at Windfall Farms)
Trim greens off beets, leaving about an inch of the stem. Place in a pot and cover with an inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes, or longer if they’re bigger. Drain and rinse beets. Slip off their skins and slice them into ¼ inch rounds. Place in a bowl and add vinegars, olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Toss to combine and set aside to marinate. While the beets marinate toast the pistachios.
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread pistachios over a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and toast for 6 to 8 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool then roughly chop and set aside.
Toss beets and add pepper and more salt to taste. Spread beets over a large plate or platter along with any extra marinade. Scatter with mint leaves, pistachios and crumbled feta. Garnish with micro greens.
Print recipe here.