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Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Orange Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Serves 4

This easy salad recipe combines the wonderful flavor of roasted beets and the optional sautéed beet tops with the tangy flavors of goat cheese and vinaigrette with orange, Dijon mustard and honey, all served over a bed of spinach leaves. It is an easy, healthy and absolutely delicious first course, side salad or main dish for a light lunch. The recipe can easily be halved or doubled.

Ingredients

Remove the tops from the beets. Clean and cut into 3-inch pieces. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Peel the beets; cut into halves or quarters and place in a baking dish in one layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and add 1/2 tablespoon of the garlic, salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of garlic, then the beet tops, salt and pepper. Cover and sauté until tender, adding a little water if necessary, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool. Cut the cooled beets into bite-sized pieces.

To serve, place the beet tops on a platter or divide on individual plates. Top with the spinach leaves and then the chopped red beets. In a small bowl, combine the honey, mustard, orange juice, salt and pepper. Whisk well until combined and emulsified. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Top with the crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes: If the beets do not have tops, make the salad without them. If they do, but you prefer to skip the cooking step, toss the raw leaves with the spinach. I have made it both ways, and it still makes a delicious and lovely presentation.