Beet and Goat Cheese Salad in Ireland

A ten day driving tour through Ireland showed my husband and I many old castles, lush green rolling hills, stunning scenery, lots of farm animals and one big beautiful Irish family wedding. 

Our stop in Dublin took us to one of the oldest pub’s in the world.  Back in Toronto, we used to live near a popular pub called The Brazen Head and we frequented it often.  When we came across The Brazen Head Pub in Dublin Ireland, we definitely had to check it out!   It was built in 1198 and I have a feeling, it was still pretty true to it’s original form.  The space was large but broken down into little rooms, most likely for heating purposes back then. 

After all of the Medieval type movies and tv shows that my husband had made me watch  and I had watched together, this 800 year old pub was what I had expected to see.  I imagined large and loud Viking men drinking ale out of animal horns and bar wenches serving them.   Fast forward to 2014,  there were no vikings, or horn cups, it was civilized (at least in the room we in) and there were gluten free and vegan options on the menu!  Oh, what would the Vikings say now!

Looking through the bar menu, I decided on a Warm Goat Cheese and Beetroot Salad.  I was really determined to have a healthy diet on the road in Ireland, and I have to admit, some day's it proved challenging with the numerous pub stops that we made.  The beet salad was really good, with so much flavour in every bite, I was totally satisfied and fulfilled.  I noted the ingredients, hoped to make this back home and when I did finally make it, I was just as excited with the flavours as the first time I tried it.   I'm not the biggest beet fan, I find they taste like dirt (sorry beets)…but roasting them brings out their sweetness, combined with  goat cheese, and all the other goodies in this salad, (not to mention how highly nutritious beets are for you) I can say I'm a beet convert.  

Summertime is the perfect time for salads!  Refreshing, light, seasonal, and the great thing about salads are how versatile they are.  There are no rules, no do's or don'ts, salads can be a mixed bag of whatever you crave, have in your kitchen or have growing in your garden.  

This roasted beet salad is really quite easy and quick to make and by all means, adjust it to your liking! Chop, dice or slice your veggies, roast the beets ahead of time and use cold chèvre instead of baking it if you like!   I had this salad the other night for dinner and use some leftover kale pesto that I had in my freezer along with some cold roasted beets from a few days before! 

makes a large yummy salad for one

4 small beets
2 handfuls of mixed greens (washed)
1/2 cup Cucumber (diced or sliced)
 1/2 small Red Onion (sliced)
1/2 cup Cherry Tomato (sliced in half)
1 goats cheese (chèvre) wheel
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
*Adjust quantities according to your own preference

Basil Pesto 
(or your own favourite pesto recipe will do)

 1 cup Basil Leaves
1 clove Garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
2 Tbsp. Pine Nuts (lightly toasted)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

  • Pre-heat  your oven to 400º.  Wash and remove stems, leaves and roots from beets, place beets onto a sheet of tin foil (you can wrap them individually, or two or more if they're small).  Pour a teaspoon or so of Olive Oil over beets and wrap foil tightly.  Place onto cooking sheet and into preheated oven.  Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Beets will cook at different times depending on their size. Check by carefully peeling back foil and piercing beet with fork. If fork glides in easily, they're ready, if not, back in the oven they go! 
  • In the meantime, you can prepare the pesto.  Place basil leaves, crushed garlic, parmesan cheese and pine nuts into food processor and whirl until chunky.  Slowly add olive oil while you continually whirl, until you reach the consistency you like.  Set aside. 
  • When beets are ready and roasted, remove from oven and let cool. Lower oven temperature to 350º.
  • Remove goats cheese from packaging and wrap loosely in tin foil. 
  • When the beets have cooled, and your ready to start peeling them, place wrapped goats cheese in oven for about 10 minutes or until starting to melt. 
  • Peel beets using fingers, or a parring knife.  Doing this under running water can help and help keep fingers clean as beet juice can stain.  Use disposable gloves if you have them handy especially if you have an important meeting and you don't like the idea awkwardly pink fingers all day!
  • Whisk Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Balsamic Vinegar, add a pinch of salt and pepper.  
  • Mix your washed salad greens, cucumber, cherry tomato's, red onion, and balsamic vinegar/olive oil salad dressing.  Place mixed salad on to large plate.  
  • Drop a few spoonfuls of pesto onto salad, as well as your roasted, and halved beets.  
  • Finally, remove baked melty goats cheese from tin foil and flip on to salad.  


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