Vital Root’s Roasted Beet & Arugula Salad

Vital Root’s Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad is the perfect balance of spicy cruciferous vegetables, savory grains, earthy goat cheese, and tart dressings.

Vital Root’s Roasted Beet & Arugula Salad. Photo by Joni Schrantz.

“The inspiration for the salad came from great pairings of beets, goat cheese, and arugula. Those three components are the beginning of so many great salads, and at this point has become a timeless tradition.” —Justin Cucci, owner & chef of Vital Root

Roasted Beet & Arugula Salad

INGREDIENTS:
2 oz. arugula
1/2 oz. quinoa, cooked
1/2 oz. mung beans, cooked
1/2 oz. lentils, cooked
1 oz. caper vinaigrette
2 oz. pickled beets, large diced
1 oz. beet pesto
1 oz. goat cheese
1 oz. hazelnuts, toasted and crushed
1/4 oz. aged balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS:
In a mixing bowl, combine arugula, quinoa, mung beans, and lentils. Dress lightly with caper vinaigrette before serving. Add pickled beets in diagonal corners of each bowl. Place one dollop of the beet pesto on top. Add small crumbles of goat cheese across the top of the salad. Place toasted hazelnuts on top. Lightly drizzle balsamic reduction over salad.

Pickled Beets

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs. red or gold beets
2 c. red wine vinegar
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
3 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
Plus water for cooking beets

DIRECTIONS:
In a pot, cover beets with water and bring to a boil. Cover pot with lid and lower to a simmer until beets are tender, approximately 1-2 hours depending on size. Test by piercing beet with a knife. Allow beets to cool, strain water and peel beets using a cloth or peeler. Cut beet to desired size, then set aside. Combine all of the remaining ingredients (red wine vinegar, 1 cup water, sugar, salt, and bay leaves) in a pot and bring to a boil. Pour over beets and allow to steep for at least 20 minutes. Cool to 41 F or colder and store until ready to serve.

Beet Pesto

INGREDIENTS:
1 oz. sunflower seeds
1/2 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 oz. canola oil
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 oz. kosher salt
1/4 oz. basil, fresh
4 oz. red beets
1 tsp. black peppercorn

DIRECTIONS:
Soak sunflower seeds in hot water for 30 min, then rinse and drain. Place sunflower seeds in a robot coupe or immersion blender along with lemon juice, extra virgin olive and canola oil. Pulse until incorporated thoroughly and slightly chunky. Add the remaining ingredients, pulse until combined but not smooth. Cool to 41 F and store in the refrigerator.

Caper Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 oz. apple cider vinegar
1/2 oz. vinegar, white distilled
1/2 oz. tahini
1 oz. extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. grapeseed oil
1/2 shallot, peeled
1/2 oz capers, drained

DIRECTIONS:
Place all ingredients in a blender, cover with lid. Blend on med-high speed until smooth and liquid is emulsified. Transfer dressing to container, and then cool to 41 F and store in the refrigerator.