This salad can also be made with ricotta cheese, for those who prefer a milder cheese, or feta, for those who prefer a sharper flavor. The beets can be chopped or sliced, and pecans can substitute for the walnuts. Orange sections and/or red- or Vidalia onion slices may be added. Be creative with the ingredients and the presentation of this healthful and delicious summer salad.
2 bunches medium beets (about 1½ pounds), tops trimmed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
½ cup walnuts
1 bunch arugula, trimmed and torn
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Put the beets in a saucepan with water to cover and season generously with salt. Add the lemon juice (to help keep the beets from bleeding). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Place pot under running cold water and rinse until beets are cool enough to handle. The skins should slide right off with a bit of pressure from your fingers. Use a paring knife to scrape off any bits that stick. Cut each beet into bite-sized wedges.
Whisk the vinegar with salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream to make a dressing. Toss the cut beets in the dressing; set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and oven-toast, stirring once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool.
Toss the arugula with the beets and divide among four plates. Scatter the walnuts and goat cheese on top.