Smoked Beet Salad- This gluten free and vegetarian salad just hits different. The combination of smoky and sweet beets, peppery arugula, creamy and tangy goat cheese, hibiscus vinaigrette, and crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds is heavenly.
Beet salads have become a very hot item in recent years. I'm very pleased that such a satisfying and unique root vegetable is having it's day in the sun. Being a chef and a creative individual though, I've decided to take an unusual approach to this trendy and healthy dish.
A couple of things that set this recipe apart from others: it's a wood fired, smoked beet salad, as opposed to roasted or pickled, and the vinaigrette is also quite unique and colorful. The roasted pumpkin seed goat cheese spheres add a tangy creaminess and crunch that completes the flavor profile.
This plate relies on the colorful and playful hibiscus vinaigrette recipe. Not to worry though, it is super easy to prepare, can be made in advance, and is very versatile also.
- Hibiscus vinaigrette - See recipe, this salad can be made with a different dressing, but we strongly suggest this one.
- Fresh goat cheese - Chevre is the most common name that you'll find for this, but just make sure that it is a soft variety.
- Arugula - The peppery bitterness of this leafy green makes a perfect counter balance to the sweetness in this salad.
- Fresh beets - We used golden, but red also works, or even a combination of the two.
- Extra virgin olive oil - Rich and fruity, yum!
- Pepitas - Shelled pumpkin seeds, not shown.
- Coarse sea salt - Large flakes make a nice little crunchy pop here, try Maldon brand.
- Freshly ground black pepper - Can't say it often enough, fresh ground makes all the difference.
See recipe card for quantities.
Step One - Prepare the beets
Peel off all of the outer skin.
Cut into large wedges, and coat lightly and evenly with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Step Two - Smoke the Beets
Place the beets onto a large piece of foil over the grates of your smoker and cook at 250 degrees for 1 hour, or until beets begin to get tender and brown on the outside.
Wrap the foil up and around to make a packet, and cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour more, until beets are fully cooked, (tender to the bite).
Step Three and Four - Cool Beets and Prepare the Vinaigrette
Open the foil packet and refrigerate to chill the cooked beets.
Prepare the hibiscus vinaigrette if you haven't already done so in advance.
Step Five and Six - Chop Parsley and Dress Cooked Beets
Wash, pick, and roughly chop parsley.
Toss the beets with a little of the vinaigrette and chopped parsley.
Step Seven and Eight -Toast the Pepitas and Form Goat Cheese Spheres
In a dry, hot skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds until fragrant and crunchy.
Using damp hands, roll the goat cheese into small, ½ inch balls.
Step Nine and Ten - Coat Cheese Balls and Begin Plating
Press the pepitas onto the outside of the balls, and set aside.
On a clean plate, layer a small amount of beets followed by the arugula, and then one more layer of beets. Keep everything piled tightly and in the middle of the plate.
Step Eleven - Finish Plating
Dress the plate with a few spoons of the dressing.
Season the salad with a pinch of the coarse salt and turns of the pepper grinder. Place the goat cheese balls on the plate and serve.
I'm confident that if you prepare this smoked beet salad for your friends and loved ones, everyone will respect your chef level skills!
Beets can be quite messy, especially the red ones! In order to avoid stains that are hard to get out of clothes and cutting boards, be very careful. Wearing gloves, lining surfaces with parchment, and using an apron are a few things that can be very helpful.
As with most of our recipes, there are many creative twists that can be applied!
- Colors of Beets - these roots come in many colors, red, white, yellow, even candy striped
- Different Dressing - if you don't have time for the hibiscus dressing, or just have a different favorite recipe, use it here
- Method of Cooking - smoking the beets adds an interesting flavor, but roasting them in the oven, boiling, or pickling them will also work
The components of this smoked beet salad should ideally be stored separately tightly sealed and under refrigeration until plating.
The arugula, and beets will stay fresh for 4 days.
The goat cheese balls will hold for up to 10 days, but the pepitas should be stored at room temp, and will remain fresh for 2 weeks.
A huge amount of the focus of this dish is on plating. Take your time when doing this. Plan out how much space you have to work with on the plate so as not to make it seem too busy or crowded. Always remember to take all 3 dimensions into account, and build the plate accordingly.
Smoked Beet Salad
- 1 smoker or barbecue grill
- 1 knife
- 1 Cutting Board
- 1 vegetable peeler
- 1 Mixing Bowl
- 1 pepper grinder
- 1 Kitchen Scale
- 1 sauté pan
- ½ cup hibiscus vinaigrette see link in post to recipe
- 1 lb. beets whole, raw
- 4 oz. goat cheese fresh, preferably chevre
- 1 oz. pepitas pumpkin seeds
- ½ tsp. coarse sea salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper about 6 turns of a pepper grinder
- ½ oz. arugula
- 1 Tbsp. parsley flat leaf, picked and coarsely chopped
- Heat smoker to 250 degrees.
- Peel beets.
- Cut beets into uniformly sized large wedges.
- Toss beets with olive oil and half of salt and pepper to coat.
- Place beets into smoker on top of a large sheet of aluminum foil in a single layer.
- Cook beets for approximate 1 hour, or until they are browned and slightly wrinkled on the outside.
- Wrap beets in foil tightly to finish cooking.
- Cook the beets for another half an hour, or until soft enough to bite through.
- Remove beets from the smoker and chill in refrigerator while working on next steps.
- With moistened hands to prevent sticking, work the goat cheese into approximately 1 tsp. sized spheres.
- Heat a small sauté pan over medium high.
- Place the pepitas into the pan and toast while stirring for about 2 minutes. They will be fragrant and crisp when complete.
- Remove the pumpkin seeds from the pan and lay them out in a single layer.
- Roll the goat cheese balls in the pepitas to coat the outside uniformly.
- Remove the beets from the fridge, tossing them in a mixing bowl with the parsley and 3 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette to coat.
- In the center of three large white plates, arrange a small pile of the beets in a single layer.
- Fan out the arugula leaves on top of the piles.
- Place the remaining beets on top of the arugula to form a tight central pile.
- Spoon 2 to 3 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette in a moat surrounding the arranged pile of beets and arugula.
- Place 3 or 4 of the goat cheese and pepita spheres off to one corner of the beets.
- Scatter the remaining sea salt and the pepper on top of the beets to finish.