Roasted Beet, Fennel & Orange Salad

This delicious salad, adapted from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day, was a big hit at a recent Thanksgiving-themed potluck at work. It is refreshing and surprisingly light. It was yummy with the roast turkey we had at our luncheon and would be good with other roasted or braised meat dishes.

  • 6 medium beets (red, gold, or other types or a mix), trimmed and washed
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/4 c water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 navel oranges, peeled and cut into 1/2″ rounds or quarter-rounds
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved, cored & sliced very thin (save some sprigs of the leaves for garnish)
  • 1/2 – 1 red onion, peeled and sliced paper thin
  • 3 oz crumbled plain goat cheese (about 3/4 c) or more
  • 2 T minced fresh chives
  • 2 T minced fresh mint leaves
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    Put the beets on a baking sheet with sides or in a glass baking dish. If you’re using a combination of beets, separate the colors into two or more baking dishes to keep the red beets from coloring the yellow ones. Pour the orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and the water over the beets. If you’ve separated the beets into multiple baking dishes, distribute these ingredients equally over the dishes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the baking sheet or dish tightly with foil and roast the beets until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. This will take from 40 to 75 minutes, depending on the size and type of beet. Remove from oven, uncover, and cool to room temperature. Reserve the cooking liquid to use as a dressing.

    Peel the cooled beets. Don’t peel the beets under running water or wash them because this will wash away some of the flavor. Slice the beets into 1/4″ rounds or quarter-rounds.

    Arrange the beets, oranges, fennel, and onion on a platter or on salad plates. Don’t toss the veggies, just arrange them. Make it pretty.

    Pour the reserved cooking liquid over the vegetables. You will not need to use it all – add to taste. If you’ve separated the beets by color, taste the two cooking liquids and use the one you like the best. I ended up using about half of the red beet liquid and none of the yellow beet liquid. Season with salt (a nice finishing salt if you have it) and freshly ground black pepper and top with the crumbled cheese, chives, and mint. Garnish with fennel or mint sprigs.

    Serves 6-8

    Notes: You can substitute other cheeses. Foster recommends Stilton or blue cheese as an alternate. She also says you can roast the fennel and onions instead of using them raw and serve the salad warm.

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