Roasted Beet Salad with Crispy Goat Cheese and Shallot Vinaigrette

Roasting beets with a little thyme and olive oil really brings a lot of flavor to the beet itself and the roasting process makes them even sweeter.  I love this salad because it’s very healthy and filling and a little bit decadent with the warm, crunchy goat cheese on top.  When you roll the goat cheese into the panko breadcrumbs (you could even add a little grated parmesan to the breadcrumbs) really press down to get the crumbs to adhere to the cheese.  I found that leaving the cheese at room temperature for a few minutes really helped.  And if you don’t have time to roast your own beets this can be a quick and easy weeknight salad by picking up some fresh roasted beets at the grocery store.  Our Costco carries them as well as Whole Foods – in the refrigerated section.  So if you are a beet lover like I am – try this salad.  And if you’re not yet a beet lover – try this salad….you never know.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash the beets (skin on) and pat dry.  Trim both ends.  Place each beet on its own piece of tinfoil and drizzle with 1Tablespoon of the olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.  Add in 2 thyme springs to each piece of foil and crimp the foil up around the beet, creating a packet.  Roast for approximately 60 minutes or until beets are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.  Remove from the foil packet and discard the remnants.  When cool remove the outside skin from the beet.  Store the red beet separate from the yellow beet to avoid discoloring if making ahead of time and storing in the fridge.
  2. Cut the goat cheese into approximately ½ inch pieces. Line a plate with the panko breadcrumbs and firmly press the goat cheese into the panko.  Roll on the sides as well to coat as much of the goat cheese surface as possible.  Refrigerate the coated goat cheese for at least 30 minutes or cover with saran wrap and cover for several hours before frying.
  3. Make the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisking to blend.  Can be refrigerated overnight.
  4. Just before serving heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and butter.   Add in the coated goat cheese.  Be careful not to move them too much and that the heat isn’t too high or they will burn or melt. You want to achieve a golden brown on the outside and for the goat cheese to be just warm.
  5. Assemble the salad by cutting the roasted beets into desired bite sized pieces.  Arrange family style or on individual plates with the beets and avocado.  Top with a little bit of Arugula, then the goat cheese medallions, and then drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette over the top.
3 medium beets (red and/or yellow)

6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 oz fresh herbed goat cheese (in a log preferably)

½ cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil           

1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons aged Balsamic vinegar

1 large shallot bulb, approximately ¼ cup chopped

1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups Arugula

1 ripe avocado, diced

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