Isn’t it funny how food trends come and go? I’m usually not very good at keeping up with them (nor am I good at keeping up with trends with fashion, technology, pop culture, etc…), and often I’m quite late to the game on certain foods. Beets are the perfect example. I had them once, hated them, and promptly refused to touch them again for years. My husband hated them too, and we used to joke about how perfect we were for each other because of it. Romantic, right? Fast forward a few years when we’re at a restaurant with my parents. They ordered their favorite beet salad as a starter, and being polite, we didn’t tell them how much we hated beets. We both ended up devouring the salad, realizing how wrong we had been to write beets off for so long. I still find it funny that every restaurant seems to feature a beet dish now, but I’m no longer complaining about it.
Maybe it’s the preparation of beets that can make all the difference. I still maintain that a poorly prepared beet is a truly disgusting thing, but when cooked properly it’s a different story. Cooking them doesn’t have to be complicated, though. I love roasting beets to play up their earthy sweetness, allowing them to crisp up on the outside and become wonderfully soft on the inside. All you need is a bit of olive oil and salt to make their flavor really sing.
We all know how tasty beets are with goat cheese, but if you’re like me, it’s time to break away from the trend. In this salad, I’ve paired beets with halloumi, the wonderfully salty cheese from Cyprus. Have you had it before? Tart and intensely flavorful, it magically doesn’t turn into a globular mess when you fry it up. I’ve quickly become addicted to it, as it lends such a special touch to any meal. The sweet beets pair so nicely with the salty halloumi, while a maple balsamic dressing and some crunchy toasted pistachios tie everything together perfectly.
I found my halloumi at Whole Foods, but you could also try a local cheese shop if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby. If you can’t find halloumi at all, some grilled feta would be a nice substitute.
- 3 baby beets, ends removed, peeled, and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- About 4 cups salad greens of choice (I used mixed baby greens)
- 4 slices halloumi cheese, about ¼ inch thick
- 3 tablespoons toasted pistachios
- For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss the beets in a light amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to a baking dish and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until the beets are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
- As the beets are cooking, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Just before the beets are ready, start cooking the halloumi. Place the slices on a non-stick frying pan (no oil is necessary). Cook for 2-4 minutes on medium heat. Once a light brown layer has formed on the cheese, flip to the other side. This side will cook faster, so keep an eye on it closely.
- Once the beets are done, let them cool for a couple of minutes. Add salad greens to two plates, divide the beets between the two, and drizzle on the dressing. Place two halloumi slices on each salad and sprinkle with the pistachios. Serve immediately.