Saying this does not make me unique in any way, but it’s the truth: I love farmers markets! As someone who enjoys creating new recipes, cooking old favorites, and (let’s face it) plain-old eating, there is something so inspiring about being surrounded by multitudes of fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, these days the markets seem to have vendors of all types, beyond just your basic local produce. Last week I saw tables set up for an online university, two roofing companies and a pet psychic!
If only I had brought one of the dogs with me, I could finally hear (in words instead of barks) how much they love the homemade treats I bake for them! Instead, dog-less and already the owner of a new roof, I forged ahead to the produce: sweet corn on the cob, soft peaches just waiting to be bitten into, tomatoes a brighter hue than you’ll ever find in a grocery store, and beets- jackpot! I’ve always been a fan of roasted beets, and even canned beets in a pinch. I had never grilled them before though, and so this became my mission. Would they turn out as well as roasted?
The answer to that is a resounding yes. They still have that slightly sweet, almost earthy taste that we all know and love, but grilling adds another layer of hearty smokiness to that. Plus you get the beautiful grill marks, of which I am a huge fan.
Paired with crisp almonds and sweet, chewy dried cranberries, beets can take your average salad to whole new levels- and when you grill them, you never have to heat up your kitchen!
Grilled Beet Salad with Almonds and Dried Cranberries
The olive oil allowed me to place the beets directly on the grill. If you’d rather avoid the oil you can use a small amount of non-stick spray on a sheet of aluminum foil. Also, depending on the size of your beets, you may end up with some leftovers. Just stick them in the fridge, they reheat wonderfully!
Makes 4 servings
- 1 bunch fresh beets (4-5 beets, each about the size of a small apple)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups spring mix, or lettuce of choice
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- Balsamic dressing
Trim the greens and ends off the beets, and peel off the skin. Your fingers will start to look a little red, but never fear- a little dish soap and a scrubby sponge will get that off as soon as you’re done! Slice the beets about ½ inch thick, and brush on a small amount of olive oil.
Place the beets (oiled side down) on the grill over medium-low heat, then brush a small amount of oil on the tops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and close the grill lid. Leave for 8-10 minutes, then flip the beets and leave on for another 7-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them for charring, and depending on your grill they may need an extra minute or two. When they’re done, remove from the grill and cut the slices into halves or quarters.
While the beets are grilling, lay your lettuce out on the plates. Top with the warm beets (5-6 pieces per salad) and sprinkle with the cranberries and almonds (2 tablespoons each per salad). Drizzle with your favorite balsamic dressing and enjoy!