Beet Greens Salad

We got the most beautiful beets in our Full Earth Farms CSA boxes this year. I always love beets, but I get especially excited when the beets have the greens still attached. When I am lucky enough to have fresh looking beet greens, my favorite thing to make is a warm beet greens salad with roasted beets, topped with goat cheese. Beets are naturally sweet and pair well with a tangy goat cheese. The greens are earthy like Swiss chard, but have more texture.

Beets from Full Earth Farms
Beets from Full Earth Farms

The salad is quite simple to make and only requires a few ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch beets with greens
  • 2 Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 oz Goat cheese
  • 1 Tbsp red wine (or vinegar)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the greens from the beets, leaving a little bit of the stalk attached to the root, and set aside. Place the beet roots on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle the beets with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season the beets with fresh thyme, 1 tsp of coarse salt, and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper. Fold the edges of the aluminum foil over the beets to form a pouch. Roast the beets in the oven for 35 minutes (or longer for large beets).

Beets for roasting
Beets ready for roasting

While the beets roast, wash the beet greens and pat them dry with a clean towel. Remove the stems and cut the beet greens into 1 inch strips.

Fresh beet greens
Fresh beet greens

After roasting, let the beets cool until you can handle them without burning yourself. With a pairing knife, remove the skins from the beets and slice the beets in half (or quarters for large beets).

Roasted beets
Roasted beets

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss in the beet greens and saute until slightly warmed, about a minute. Add a tablespoon of red wine to the pan and let the resulting steam wilt the greens.

Wilted beet greens
Wilting beet greens

Plate the greens and top with the roasted beets. Crumble the goat cheese over the salads and serve. The oil and wine from cooking the greens act as a vinaigrette, so salad dressing is not necessary.

Warm beet greens salad with roasted beets and goat cheese
Warm beet greens salad with roasted beets and goat cheese
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A Prosperous Plate (Hoppin’ John, Greens, and Cornbread)

In traditional Southern cuisine, dinner on New Years Day is filled with foods that symbolically set the table for prosperity in the coming year. Dinner on New Years Day includes black eyed peas (representing coins), greens (representing cash), and cornbread (which represents gold). Not wanting to miss out on some good luck, I made Hoppin’ John, sautéed kale, and cornbread for dinner. I don’t know if it will bring riches for the coming year, but it was definitely a great dinner to share with friends.

To bring us gold, I made cornbread. I actually cheated to save time and made Jiffy cornbread from a box, but cooked it in a cast iron cornbread pan.

Jiffy cornbread
Jiffy cornbread

I felt a little bad about not making cornbread from scratch until my friend Kyle said that the cornbread was delicious and “much better than cornbread from that little blue box.” I almost held my tongue, but finally admitted that it was in fact “cornbread from that little blue box.”

Cornbread from that little blue box
Cornbread from that little blue box

To bring us cash, I made kale sautéed with garlic. This quick and simple recipe results in delicious greens that are neither bitter nor mushy.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and add sliced garlic. Let the garlic flavor infuse the oil. As the garlic starts to turn a light golden brown, toss in a bunch of kale (stems removed and leaves sliced into approximately two-inch squares). With a pair of tongs, turn the kale several times until it starts to wilt. Add a light drizzle of red wine to the skillet and let the kale steam for a minute. Season with salt and pepper and remove while the kale still has a little bit of crunch left.

Sautéed kale
Sautéed kale

To bring us coins in the coming year, I made my version of Hoppin’ John.

For my take on Hoppin’ John,  add two cups of uncooked white rice to four cups of boiling chicken stock. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until all of the stock is absorbed. Using stock instead of water makes the rice taste a lot richer (and we are certainly going for richer with this meal) and helps develop the flavors of the dish better.

Rice and chicken stock
Rice and chicken stock

Slice four chicken sausages into 1/4 in wide coins and sauté in a skillet with olive oil over medium heat until the edges of the sausages start to get crispy. To the skillet, add a small diced onion, a diced red bell pepper, and a minced clove of garlic. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Add about 12 ounces of black eyed peas (I used fresh black eyed peas, but using dried peas that have been soaking overnight should work fine too).  Stir the ingredients together and spoon in the rice, mixing well between each spoonful. Season the Hoppin’ John to taste with salt, cracked black pepper, and ground red pepper.

Hoppin' John
Hoppin’ John

Kyle and Shannon joined us, bringing a bean salad with black eyed peas for added fortune. With gold, cash, and coins represented on the plate, we enjoyed something much more valuable than money — the opportunity to share dinner and fellowship with great friends.

Hoppin' John, kale, cornbread, and bean salad
A Prosperous Plate

Although they have no obvious symbolic meaning, we rounded dinner off with some cake ball pops that Jill and Shannon made.

Cake ball pops
Cake ball pops

Happy New Year!