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Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pecans

I like to serve this salad on individual plates for a light lunch. The deep earthy taste of roasted beet root combines well with a full flavored goat cheese and acidic balsamic dressing. Creamy chevre (goat cheese) works best for this salad. The toasted pecans add richness and extra protein to fuel a busy afternoon. Balsamic vinegars are not all equal! When choosing balsamic vinegar for use in salad dressings it’s wise to be prepared to spend a little more for a higher quality. The resulting flavor of your vinaigrette will speak for itself.
Preparation
1. Preheat the Memphis Wood Fired Grill to 400 F.

2. Trim the greens away from fresh beets but leave the tail. Scrub the beets to remove dirt and pat dry using paper towel. Put the beets into a shallow pan and drizzle ½ T of the olive oil over the top of each beet. Reserve the remaining oil for later use. Place the pan on the lower rack of the pre-heated Memphis and close the lid.

3. Roast the beets for approximately 35 – 45 minutes depending on their size. The beets are done when a sharp, thin knife slides in and out easily. Remove from the grill and let cool to room temperature before peeling. Chill the peeled beets in the refrigerator for an hour before using in the salad. When chilled dice the beets into small squares.

4. Scatter the raw pecans on a baking sheet and toast them next to the beets on the Memphis for about 8 - 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the pecans as they will go from a lovely golden brown to black very quickly! Remove from the Memphis and set aside to cool.

5. Assemble the salad by layering the lettuce, baby spinach, thinly slice red onion and diced beets.

6. In a small bowl mix the sugar and balsamic vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the remaining olive oil slowly until well incorporated. Drizzle the dressing over the salad on each plate.

7. Crumble the soft goat cheese and scatter over each of the plated salads along with the toasted pecans. Serve salads immediately.

Ingredients
3 beets
6 Tbsp olive oil
½ C pecans, whole
4 C romaine lettuce, small pieces
2 C baby spinach
1/3 C red onion, sliced thin
1/3 C goat cheese (chevre), crumbled
½ C balsamic vinegar, good quality
1 tsp sugar
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