Salt-Roasted (or Steam-Roasted) Beets with Goat Cheese & Toasted Walnuts
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This salad features a very classic lineup of ingredients: beets, goat cheese, and walnuts. A shallot vinaigrette, seasoned with fresh orange juice, always a nice match for beets, brings it all together. Below you’ll find two simple methods for cooking beets: salt-roasted and steam-roasted.
Have you ever salt-roasted beets?
Don’t worry: the beets don’t taste overly salty; in fact, they don’t taste salty at all. They taste perfectly seasoned, sweet and earthy with a nice firm texture.
I was inspired to blog about this method after reading an article in the March issue of Saveur — all about where to eat in Los Angeles — which offered a recipe for Wolfgang Puck’s beet and goat cheese napoleons, an appetizer served at Spago.
A short article in the back of the issue addresses how to cook beets so that their color doesn’t run. To preserve color and nutrients, Saveur recommends placing beets (5 to 6) in a 9×13-inch baking dish, pouring in an inch of water, covering the dish tightly with foil, and roasting until a knife easily slides into the beets, about 1 1/2 hours. I used to cook beets just as prescribed.
That was until I learned the method of the chef (former chef) from the cafe where I used to work. He salt-roasted his beets with rosemary and thyme, and his beet salad, served with a goat cheese-topped crostini, Blue Heron Farm greens, and a lemon emulsion, was one of his signature dishes.
When I tried his cooking method at home, I discovered something remarkable: not an ounce of liquid (well maybe a teensy tiny bit) leeches from the beets. If preserving color and nutrients is the goal, then salt roasting is the way to cook beets.
Beets’ affinity for orange makes the dressing for this salad, adapted from Saveur’s, particularly nice: reduced orange juice, orange zest, shallots, rice vinegar, chives, and olive oil. I like to spoon this dressing over the salad rather than toss it with the ingredients — beets turn a tossed salad into one big red mess.
Think you don’t like beets? Try salt roasting them. As a final endorsement, I’d like to share that my husband never liked beets until he tasted them cooked this way. The first time I salt-roasted beets and served them to him, he asked me what was different and why he liked them. Had I not been so impressed by his discerning palette, I might have been offended — I never knew he didn’t like beets. And it turns out he didn’t. I just didn’t know how to cook them.Print
Salt-Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese & Toasted Walnuts
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 as a side dish
- Diet: Vegetarian
I’ve recently updated/simplified the recipe. Some notes:
- If you liked the original dressing that called for reducing fresh orange juice, check out this Saveur recipe. The recipe below now simply calls for fresh orange juice, vinegar, shallots, and olive oil, and no reducing of the juice is required.
- Because some people don’t love wasting so much salt for the salt-roasted method, I’ve included a steam-roasted method below as well.
- To toast the walnuts, place them on a sheet pan and roast them at 375ºF — you can do this after the beets are removed — for 8 minutes or until they are being to smell and look toasty.
- 1.5 to 2 lbs. beets, washed, greens removed
- kosher salt, if doing the salt-roasted method
- a few sprigs thyme and rosemary, optional
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup finely minced shallot
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- juice of one orange, about 1/4 cup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- goat cheese, about 4 ounces
- 1/2 cup walnuts, see notes above
- greens, about 5 ounces
- chives, snipped with scissors or finely chopped
- To Salt-Roast the Beets: Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Pour kosher salt into a shallow roasting vessel to make a thin layer. (See photo to help estimate how much.) Place beets on salt bed. If using herbs, nestle a few sprigs among the beets. Cover pan tightly with foil and place in oven for about one hour, depending on how many and how big your beets are. Note: To test for doneness, remove foil and slip a pairing knife into one of the beets. If the knife meets little resistance, they are done. When beets are done, remove foil covering and let them cool. When cool enough to handle, rub off the skins and discard. Cut beets into 6ths or 8ths, and transfer to a bowl.
- To Steam-Roast the Beets: Heat the oven to 375ºF. Nestle the beets into a small roasting vessel, such as an 8- or 9-inch round or square baking dish. Pour in 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil. Transfer to the oven for 1 hour. To test for doneness, remove foil and slip a pairing knife into one of the beets. If the knife meets little resistance, they are done. When beets are done, remove foil covering and let them cool. When cool enough to handle, rub off the skins and discard. Cut beets into 6ths or 8ths, and transfer to a bowl.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: Place the shallots, vinegar, juice, and salt in a small bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Whisk in 1/3 cup of the olive oil. Taste. Adjust with more olive oil to taste — there should be nice balance of sweet and sharp in the dressing, and it will be on the thin side. Adjust with salt to taste.
- To assemble the salad, arrange greens in a large, shallow bowl. Drizzle lightly with the dressing. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss gently. Season the beets with salt to taste. Drizzle lightly with the dressing and toss gently. Arrange the dressed beets over the greens. Sprinkle the walnuts over top. Crumble the goat cheese over top. Sprinkle the chives over top and season with freshly cracked pepper to taste. Resist the urge to toss — beets will turn the salad into a big red mess. Note: If you don’t care about looks, go ahead, toss everything together.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Salad
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: salt-roasted, beet, salad
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
56 Comments on “Salt-Roasted (or Steam-Roasted) Beets with Goat Cheese & Toasted Walnuts”
I adore beets! I can’t wait to try this method.
You don’t even need the salt, really. You can dry roast them- I think one of the keys is not cutting into the actual beet before roasting- like you did leaving the rood and stem intact. I’ve even “roasted” beets in the crockpot- just putting the beets in and nothing else and they turned out great too. Thanks for another great recipe.
If it works for meat and fish, why not beets. They keep a nice shape this way rather than shriveling up with the normal roast process.
this is a really fancy and flavorful salad, alexandra. i think the dressing would compliment all kinds of different salad combinations, but it fits this concoction like a glove. excellent post!
The one and only time I have salt roasted anything it was a horrible failure. Hopefully beets will be a success.
I heard about salt roasting beetroot for the first time about 3 hours ago, watching a Jamie Oliver program. Now here it is again! The universe is clearly telling me to try it. It looks just beautiful!
I want to eat this NOW.
roasted beets are my favortie especially on a salad! I can’t wait to make this!
I’ve always loved the taste of beets. In Greece we eat them A LOT! Salt roasted beets sounds exciting. I can’t wait to try this salad.
A tasty beet salad!! I so love beets!!
The beets sound delicious and I will be trying this over the weekend. Just a thought about dressing the salad – because I prefer my greens lightly, but thoroughly dressed, I am going to see how it works to toss the greens and the beets with the dressing in two seperate bowls and then combine them on the plate.
Thanks for the recipe.
I dunno if I like or hate beets – I haven’t had enough beets in my life! But I couldn’t refuse them if they looked this good 😉
Yummmmmmmm! Beets are delish!
I have been working my way through the beautiful repertory of recipes from your site, and the roasted beet salad was last night’s spectacular side – but really center – piece! So tasty! My boyfriend remarked that the process of salt roasting transformed the vegetable into a root he now likes!
We are eating this now. And this is the first time ever im enjoying goat cheese. I never liked it. And my husband too is so impressed, thank you!
I used greens too and i didnt have shallots so i omitted them. Though im sure the vinaigrette would have tasted even better with it.
Sm – So glad to hear this! My husband, too, was surprised by how much he liked this salad. Thanks for writing in!
I love beets and this sounds delish. Just curious though… do you discard the salt afterwards or can you re-use it for the next time you roast beets or fish? Just seems like such a waste.
Luvie — it is a little wasteful bc the salt really can’t be reused. It turns into a sort of salt block and gets very crumbly and burnt in places, so it’s best to discard. A big box of kosher salt is relatively cheap, however, and you only use a thin layer, so as far as dollars go, you aren’t wasting too much…I’ll have to check the going price for a 3lb box of kosher salt the next time I get to the market to figure out a more precise cost estimate.
I use ice cream rock salt. I use the whole box and can reuse the salt for two or three rounds usually. It’s a much bigger grain than kosher salt.
Great to know, thanks so much, Andrea!
This was awesome…I used spinach for the greens!
Awesome! So happy to hear this!
I am eating this right now and it is so good! I would have never paired orange and beers together.
Yay! So happy to hear this. I know, right? Such a good match 🙂
Made this the other night. It was fantastic. Only used about 1/4 c salt give or take but it made the burst with flavor. The dressing was amazing, so many things you can pair that with. My husband loved it. I made a breakfast burrito with the leftovers. Warmed it in the oven which melted the goat cheese and then drizzled the dressing made for a red mess but it was fantastic. Highly recommend it if you are not worried about how “pretty” it looks.
So happy to hear this, Jenn! And I love the idea of using the leftovers for a breakfast burrito … the beets are arriving in our CSA, so I’ll be trying this for sure. So glad you like the dressing, too.
This salad was amazing. My husband said it was the best salad he has ever eaten. He liked it better than his pork chop, and this is a man who HATES vegetables and all things orange related. It’s also the first time I have ever liked beets. Wow, sooo good. Thank you!
So happy to hear this, Jenny! It’s so funny you say this because this was the salad that made my husband LIKE beets. It was a real victory 🙂
I’m making this tonight & don’t see a photo depicting approx. how much salt to use in the pan in which to nestle the beets. One reviewer wrote in approx. 1/4 cup Kosher salt. I do have a habit of looking directly at something and NOT seeing it so, this may be a silly question; am I missing something? I absolutely love beets and can’t wait to try this as I can’t imagine them being better than they already are. The Hubbs has never been a huge fan so I’d love to tip him over the edge. Thanks in advance for the recipe!
You’re not missing anything! There was a photo once, and the link must have gotten “broken” at some point, so I probably deleted about. BUT, I am going to take a photo right now and upload it by the end of the day. I am also making this now, and I would say 1/4 cup is about right. I’m using a standard pie plate, and I sprinkled a little bit more in after the 1/4 cup, but 1/4 cup is prob sufficient. This is the method that one my husband over with beets! Hope your hubbs approves 🙂
Just tried this last night. I didn’t actually make the salad, sorry – just tried roasting the beet this way. I peeled it, cut it up and then drizzled a little olive oil and honey-infused balsamic over it. WOW! Was delicious – the texture of the beet was perfect. I am definitely trying this again and making the salad this time!!
Yay!! So happy to hear this, Christie! Honey-infused balsamic sounds heavenly.
Can the beets be made ahead of time? Do they hold up in the fridge for a day or 2?
I made it for a Valentines Day dinner and it was amazing. I’d like to make it for a dinner party..
Definitely! Peel them, and store them in an air-tight container.
I stopped roasting beets with the peeling on a long time ago. It’s a horrible mess to rub off peelings after they are cooked. Instead for an incredibly easy and very tasty way of fixing beets simply use a sharp peeler and peel them first. Then you can salt roast or steam or whatever. Also cutting them in pieces first makes sure they get done quickly and they retain all their flavor and they are ready to eat hot or chilled asap. Hope this saves others as much mess and time as it has me !! c
Thanks for all of this, Caroline! I can’t wait to try this method. And I have a ton of beets on hand with which to experiment… Yay!
Most welcome! It’s definitely so much neater and easier!
Could you share the lemon emulsion recipe from the cafe you used to work at? The orange dressing sounds great, but I love lemons. Is it just whisked lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper?
Oh gosh, I don’t have it Karen! But I think it is just what you say: lemon, salt, pepper … maybe a bit of mustard to help with the emulsion … and olive oil streamed in. It definitely had an “emulsion” consistency meaning it was completely puréed. If I ever write up a recipe for it, I will be sure to report back.
I tried the salt technique and loved the results. Plus, the skin beets with paper towels tip is life changing-why have I been doing this the hard way! Graci!
Yay! So nice to hear this, Hillary! And I know: it was life-changing for me as well 🙂 🙂 🙂
I made this salad last night for dinner and I used the salt roast method. The dressing is the perfect for the salad. I always try to use Vermont Creamery goat cheese (which I did) because I think that’s the best for any recipe! I used a Boston lettuce for the greens. I think any green would work, even a sturdier one such as romaine.
The beets were roasted perfectly. I think the salt helps the beet keep their shape and don’t seem to lose as much “juice” while roasting. I only had to take one out sooner as it was smaller and done roasting when I poked it with a cake tester. I always use a small paring knife to peel as I never have much luck with the paper towel rubbing method. But I ALWAYS wear kitchen gloves when I handle beets (or hot peppers for that matter!)
So nice to hear this, Lu! I love Vermont Creamery everything, especially their goat cheese. And I think you’re right about the salt-roasting method — the beets definitely don’t lose as many juices. Smart to use a cake tester (and gloves!), too. Love it 🙂 🙂 🙂
This is such a delicious salad, and the steam roasting method yields perfect beets every time!
Wonderful to hear this, Arianna! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
Ali, I am excited to make this salad for T-Day. In the realm of making as much ahead as I can I want to salt roast an dress the beets on Tuesday. I assume that I should dress them while they are warm so that they can absorb the dressing. I would take out of fridge several hours before serving. Do you think this would work? Any suggestions would be so appreciated. Happy Thanksgiving and thank for this recipe that just sounds wonderful.
I would like to make ahead, should I dress them while they are warm so that they can absorb the dressing. Or do before serving?
I would dress the beets ahead of time with some of the dressing but keep them in a separate bowl. When you are ready to serve, begin the assembly of greens, beets, walnuts, goat cheese. Drizzle more dressing over top. This will ensure the salad won’t be a complete red mess when you are ready to serve. That said: a red mess is still tasty 🙂
yes, absolutely, great ideas all around: roast the day ahead, dress the beets with some of the dressing while warm, keeping them separate from the remaining ingredients. Bringing them to room temperature several hours before serving is also a great idea. Assemble just before serving. Drizzle the remaining dressing over top if necessary. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Ali, thank you so much for responding! jk