A great run of outdoor music evenings has sparked creative picnic ideas and the launch of “Picnic Picks”. Other dollop recipes such as the lime & mint marinated chicken kebabs fit in this category and now we’ll add to it beet and goat cheese salad. This vibrant salad meets all the criteria and adds new dimension to a PP (picnic pick), it:
- can be made in advance
- is delicious cold or at room temperature
- travels well (just make sure it’s in a sealed container so beet juice doesn’t drip out)
- requires little “on-site” assembly – pour (dressing), crumble & sprinkle (goat cheese & onions), serve (and pour yourself a rosé)
The beets at the farm stand were too pretty to leave behind last week so I brought this along to a concert in the park picnic and it was the first container to be emptied!
While they’re super simple to cook – boil in a pot of water until they are tender – beets do take a while to cook through so I usually make them early in the day or the night before. After the beets are cooked through, drain the water and let them sit until they are cool. The beet skin should then peel off easily using just your finger to push it back or a butter knife to cut off any stuck skin. Wash your hands as soon as you finish peeling the beets to avoid your hands being stained red. Once you’ve peeled the beets keep them whole in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the salad and serve or prepare your picnic containers. Then thinly slice the beets and put them in a container with a tight lid (for a picnic) or a pretty bowl (for home serving) and the beet part of the salad is finished. See super simple!
the red onions and dressing
Soaking the sliced red onions in balsamic vinegar for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 hours softens the raw onion, both its texture and flavor. The vinegar the onions are soaked in is then used for the salad dressing. If you prefer a sharper red onion flavor you don’t have to soak the onions and can just add the raw onion slices when you’re ready to serve. Using 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar is usually not enough to cover the onion slices so remember to stir a few times so all onions soak evenly. If you want to “soak and go” add enough vinegar to fully cover the onions and then measure out 1/4 cup when you’re making the dressing. Either way remove the onions from the vinegar and set aside if you’re making this for at home or put in a small ziploc if you’re picnic prepping.
The dressing can be made in advance and stored in a jar or container. When ready to serve pour the dressing over the beets, then sprinkle the onions and crumbled goat cheese and voila! you are ready to enjoy!
- Beets – 6
- Balsamic vinegar – ¼ cup
- Red onion – ¼ onion thinly sliced
- Honey – 1 tablespoon
- Olive oil – ⅓ cup
- Dijon mustard – ½ tablespoon
- Black pepper – 1 teaspoon
- Crumbled goat cheese - ½ cup
- To prepare the beets:
- Rinse beets
- Submerge in a pot of water and boil until beets are cooked (tender when pierced with a fork)
- Remove beets from water and let cool
- Peel beets (cover and refrigerate if you are not ready to serve)
- Trim ends and cut beets into thin slices when ready to serve
- To prepare the dressing:
- Thinly slice red onion and put in a shallow container or bowl
- Cover sliced red onion with balsamic vinegar and let sit 45 minutes to 2 hours, stir frequently so all onions are soaked
- Remove onions from balsamic vinegar and set aside
- Pour vinegar and remaining dressing ingredients into a jar and mix thoroughly
- Crumble goat cheese
- Pour dressing over sliced beets
- Sprinkle onions on beets
- Crumble goat cheese on beets and onions