This is a composed salad topped with a drizzle of creamy dressing and flavored with a hint of orange.
The individual flavors of the beets, spinach, and nuts are pulled together by the subtle taste and creamy texture of the dressing, making this a perfect first course for any meal that includes pungent sauces and seasonings.
We used a combination of both red and golden beets for this salad. There is no appreciable difference in the flavor, so if you can’t find the golden beets, red will do just fine.
Tip: If you’re concerned about stains on your hands from the beets, wear a pair of food prep gloves while you’re peeling and cutting them.
Roasted Beet, Walnut and Baby Spinach Salad
- 6 medium beets, red, gold or both – about 1-1/2 lbs
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup walnut oil
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the finished salad:
- 1/2 cup shelled walnuts, lightly toasted
- 12 ounces baby spinach leaves
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lay a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a baking sheet and coat it thoroughly with nonstick spray.
- Trim the green tops from the beets and reserve them for another use. Remove any long roots, then peel them just like you would a potato.
- Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and arrange the beets in a single layer on half of the foil. Drizzle them with the walnut oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Fold the foil in half to form a sealed packet and place in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes, or until the pieces are tender when pierced with a knife.
- Remove from the oven, open the foil and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Make the dressing:
- Whisk together the walnut oil, cream, and orange juice until well blended.
- Slowly whisk in the lemon juice, add a pinch of salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble the salad:
- Divide the baby spinach between 6 salad plates. Mound a serving of beets in the center of each plate and scatter the walnuts on top.
- Whisk the dressing a final time and drizzle about 2 tablespoons over each salad. Serve immediately.