While making the rounds at my local farmers’ market, I was not surprised at how many people were lined up at the beet stall. This highly-nutritious, versatile root vegetable, available July through February, still has a love-it-or-hate-it reputation. But those  who grew up with the canned version are rediscovering this heart-healthy, colorful vegetable. Beets are delicious roasted as a side dish or used in a simple summer salad.

Beet salads are easy and fun, and there’s always room for adaptation. Try this savory, chilled option as a starter or a light main dish, which is enhanced by the tangy creaminess of goat cheese. If you are not a goat cheese fan, substitute your favorite cheese as an alternative or eliminate the cheese altogether. To add color, use several beet varieties such as the candy striped Chioggia, golden beets, red beets or white beets.

Roasted Beet Salad
Serves two

3 cups fresh beets
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 oz goat cheese

1. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the size  of the beets
2. Remove beets from oven and let cool. Peel beets (this is messy and beets do stain hands. Use gloves or ziploc bags while peeling)
3. Cube beets into 1.5” pieces
4. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper (I use a Frenzy Olive Oil and a pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette)
5. Place beets in a bowl and toss with olive oil mixture
6. Add goat cheese in chunks
7. Refrigerate for one hour before serving
8. Serve on its own or on a bed of lettuce