Winter Vegetable Salad, the best way to cook beets, and a November 2022 menu recap

The past month of my life has been unofficially sponsored by the book Listen to Your Vegetables by Sarah Grueneberg and Kate Hedding. I ordered it to read during our vacation in Ocracoke after seeing it and its recipe for carrot lasagna mentioned in an article and WOW it is a fantastic cookbook.

I’ve learned a lot from the methods and ideas and have tackled vegetables I typically don’t cook with (hi, artichokes and beets) because these recipes make me feel like I fully understand how to do a good job with them. Also, the recipes make the vegetable the star but they don’t skimp on my favorite supporting ingredients like cheese, nuts, spice, sauce, etc. Practically the entire index has gone on my list of “food to make” in the notes app on my phone — I can’t put this book down. (P.S. There is also a homemade pasta chapter that is giving me visions of becoming a chic, oversized-oxford-shirt-with-the-sleeves-rolled-up-wearing, self-possessed, very charming, pasta queen.) What a book!

My favorite vegetable lesson learned so far has been how to roast beets to perfection and make them taste the way beet lovers have always claimed they do — sweet and delicious. To my palette (and Joey’s), they’ve always tasted like dirt and not much else. Not anymore! Srah Grueneberg has explained, via this book, that peeling the beets, cutting them into chunks, seasoning them with olive oil and salt, and roasting them in a foil packet before giving them a soak in a vinegar/honey mixture is the path to tasty beet kingdom. Now, I’m doing this all the time and putting those beets on crostini with ricotta on the reg and adding them to a super nourishing Winter Vegetable Salad (recipe below!).

But first…

a November 2022 recap

Here are some of the greatest hits from our dinners last month, just for funsies (and for my own nostalgia record):

Mushroom, brussels sprouts, ricotta pizza with artichoke and celery salad: This pizza is a repeat b/c I liked it so much the first time I made it… yet still haven’t written the recipe down to share here. Shame on me. The artichoke and celery salad came from the above-mentioned book, Listen to Your Vegetables. It was the first time I ever successfully prepared an artichoke so it deserves a spot here (and it tasted wonderful!):

Swiss Chard Rolls: Another hit from the Sarah Grueneberg book! I should have gotten a pic of the inside but it’s rice and quinoa (the recipe said farro but I used what I had) and lots of punchy, briny things: olives, sundried tomatoes, pepperoncini, feta, herbs, and the chopped-up swiss chard stems leftover from using the lovely chard leaves to wrap all this goodness in. I loved it so much I had to mess with it and add spicy ground beef and some sweet little golden raisins. I predict this will be on repeat — it’s G.O.A.T. material, for sure.

Thanksgiving charcuterie board: No explanation needed, just YUM! Ok, some explanation: this board included the Rosemary-Sizzled Salami, Dates, and Pecans, some za’atar-seasoned saltines I cannot find the link for, and the Marinated Mozzarella and Peppadew Peppers from the November issue of Bon Appetit. The salami and saltines were a hit and a half, the mozz and peppers were good but I prefer a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that uses the same peppers, but they’re stuffed with prosciutto-wrapped fontina, and marinated. Yup!

charcuterie board on a deck

Turkey pozole with mashed potato-beet green fritters and smoked almond romesco sauce: Thanksgiving leftovers at their finest. Well, not really — I live and die for a turkey sandwich. But this was good! And I love a fritter. The pozole recipe came from the book From Scratch by Michael Ruhlman — a very good book to learn core recipes that generate leftovers, and ways to use those leftovers. And the smoked almond romesco sauce is my recipe!

fritters and bowls of soup on a countertop

Vermouth-Roasted Pear and Taleggio Crostini: An excellent appetizer from (again) the above-mentioned Listen to Your Vegetables book. I actually mistook sherry for vermouth and this still came out fantastic. It’s hard to beat stinky cheese and caramelized pears on toasty bread. This pic could use a pop of green or something, but oh well:

crostini on a black plate

Tunisian-Style Chickpea and Turnip Curry: That is not the title of this gem of a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but it’s what I call it. I sometimes add coconut milk if I’m feeling creamy, but it’s basically lots of veggies cooked down in the liquid from the chickpeas + tomato paste and warm spices. Suuuper comforting, despite how this poor-quality photo may look:

curry in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon

Alrighty! On to this gorgeous, wintery salad with the MOST perfect roasted beets!

Print

Winter Vegetable Salad

purple winter vegetable salad in a bowl

This salad blends crunchy cabbage, perfectly-roasted beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, and red onions and is doused in a bright, citrusy dressing. Add rice or quinoa if you like or add in other veggies, proteins, cheese, etc. — it all works!

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hours
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBS fresh orange juice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 TBS honey mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C olive oil

for the salad

  • 3 medium beets, peeled and quartered
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1” pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced in 1/2″ thick wedges
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 a head of red cabbage, thinly sliced or shaved on a mandoline
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into 1/2” cubes
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1/2 C roasted nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts would all work)
  • 1/2 C chopped, fresh herbs (a mix of parsley, cilantro, dill, and mint is great)

optional add-ins

  • shredded chicken
  • smoked sausage (roast it on the same pan as the veggies for a nice sear — use a little less olive oil if you do this)
  • bacon (chop it and roast it on the same pan as the veggies — use a little less olive oil if you do this)
  • rice or quinoa
  • cheese (parmesan, manchego, cheddar, and feta are all great)
  • dried fruit (cherries, golden raisins, or cranberries are all yummy)

Instructions

make the dressing

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a large measuring cup or bowl, or add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake.

Prepare and roast the beets (the very best way)

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Set a wire rack inside a baking sheet, then lay two pieces of foil on the counter. Place the quartered beets on one sheet of foil, drizzle with 2 TBS of olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 tsp of kosher salt, then toss to coat. Place the second sheet of foil over top and crimp the edges together to form a packet around the beets. Place the packet on the wire rack-lined baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  3. Add the white wine vinegar, honey, and 1 TBS of olive oil to a large, resealable bag and press it around with your fingers to combine. Set this aside for when the beets come out of the oven.
  4. Before removing the beets from the oven, test their doneness by sticking a pairing knife through the foil, into one of the beets — it should slide in and out with little resistance. 1 hour has always been exactly right for me, but if your beets are still tough, let them go a little longer, checking every 10 minutes or so. Remove the beets from the oven and let them cool in their packet for 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the beets and their liquid to the bag with the vinegar/honey mixture, seal, toss to coat, and let sit for 15 minutes. The warm beets will absorb much of the liquid and take on a delicious, smooth, sweet flavor.
  6. Transfer the beets from the bag to a cutting board and cut into 1/2″ cubes.

roast the remaining vegetables (while your beets are roasting)

  1. Toss the chickpeas, cubed sweet potatoes, and sliced carrots and onions with 2 to 4 TBS of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and spread out on a second baking sheet. Place that in the oven and roast alongside your beets, tossing the veggies with a spatula every 15 minutes, until they’re nicely browned and caramelized — about 35 minutes total. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

assemble the salad

  1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, roasted beets and other veggies, the apple, any additional add-ins you may be using, and most of the nuts and herbs. Drizzle with dressing (no need to use all of it, I had about 1/4C leftover), toss, and top with remaining nuts and herbs. Enjoy!

 

 

Notes

*This salad keeps well in the fridge for 4-5 days.

*The cooking times and nutritional info noted in this recipe are approximate.

Keywords: best way to cook beets, how to roast beets, winter salad recipe, make-ahead salad recipe