Roasted beet salad with wild rice, goat cheese and chickpeas

By Julie Van Rosendaal on August 28, 2012
We love this salad at big meals, especially in fall. It’s wickedly healthy, and the colours are vibrant - saves the festive table from too many shades of brown! Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the beets, and of course you can roast them ahead of time (tuck them into the oven while it’s baking something else - it’s easy to multitask roasting beets). The flavours in this salad really marry well, and leftovers keep easily for a few days in the fridge. From Spilling the Beans, by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan (Whitecap)


Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb (680 g) beets, about 3 medium
1/2 cup (125 mL) wild rice
1-2 kale or chard leaves, tough rib discarded and leaves chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup (250 mL) cooked chickpeas, or 1/2 19 oz (540 mL) can, rinsed and drained
1 5 oz (150 g) tube soft goat cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) pecan halves

Dressing:
1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the pecans on a small rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and just toasted, 6-7 minutes. Let cool.

Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Scrub the beets and wrap them individually in foil. Place on a rimmed sheet and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, an hour or hour and a half. Remove and let cool. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off the beets (or leave them on if they’re thin), and cut the roast beets into bite-size chunks.

While the beets are roasting, make the dressing: combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar and taste for seasoning - it will be a little sweeter than most vinaigrettes. Discard the garlic clove before dressing the salad.

Boil the rice in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water. Turn down to a simmer, and cook covered for 35 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice rest covered on the stove for another 10 minutes. At this point some, but not all the grains will have split open. If you prefer all the grains open, let it rest for another 5-15 minutes. Drain and let cool.

To a medium bowl add the beets, kale, onions, chickpeas, cooled rice and the dressing. Transfer to a shallow dish or platter, and chill until ready to serve. Top with pecans and scatter bits of goat cheese over the salad right before serving.

Serves 4-6.

By Julie Van Rosendaal| August 28, 2012

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