38 Power Foods, Week 4 — Beets — Golden Beet-Ricotta Salad with Fresh Cherries and Caramelized Shallots

In St. Paul, as nearly everywhere, it’s hotter than…   Well, you fill in the blank.  We’re cooking a bit, but not much.  This sweet-tart salad’s beets cook in the microwave.  Even if you make the cheese, it’ll only take you a total of about twenty-five minutes.  Most of those minutes are waiting for the microwave to beep and the milk to come to a quick simmer to create the cheese curds (hence the word “curdle,” friends).  This salad is filling without being heavy and is perfect for meatless Mondays.

I wish you cool winds and cold wine.  Try this:

Golden Beet-Ricotta Salad with Fresh Cherries and Caramelized Shallots 
serves 2-4 (2 as a main course, 4 for a first course)


  • 6-8 cups fresh greens, chilled or not
  • 6 small-medium gold beets, roasted in the microwave*
  • 1/2 cup fresh, sweet cherries stemmed and pitted 
  • 6 small shallots, sliced and carmelized**
  • 1/2 c fresh ricotta (You can sometimes find fresh ricotta at a good cheese shop; it’s dear.  You can use regular store-bought or fresh goat cheese or  good cottage cheese in a pinch.  If you want to make it, here’s my recipe.* Use the cheese after it drains 15 min.)
  • 1tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1T fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T crushed, toasted hazelnuts or almonds, optional

Dressing ingredients:  1T sherry vinegar, generous pinch sea salt and freshly ground pepper, 1/2 t finely minced garlic, 1/2 t honey, 3T extra virgin olive oil.  Whisk (or use a fork) together all but olive oil.  Then drizzle in the oil one tablespoon at a time, making sure all of the oil is incorporated before adding the next tablespoon.   Two hints: Let the salt dissolve in the vinegar and don’t over beat the dressing.

Making cheese is oh-so-simple. THIS cheese anyway!


  1. Make sure greens are clean and free of water.  Use a salad spinner if necessary.  I don’t mind room temperature greens, but you might like them chilled.  Place them in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle in cooked shallots and toss lightly with your hands.
  3. Scatter the beets evenly on top of the salad and mound the cherries in the center.
  4. Add 2-3 small scoops of fresh cheese around the cherries.
  5. Add orange rind and sprinkle lemon juice evenly.  Dust with salt and pepper, making sure each pile of cheese gets an extra smack of pepper,
  6. Add dressing to taste and toss quite well to distribute the soft cheese evenly.  Sprinkle with nuts, if using.
  7. Serve immediately.  Does not keep.  Eat it all!

*To “roast” beets in microwave:  Clean, scrub, and trim the roots off the beets, leaving about an inch of greens on each. Rub in a little olive oil over each beet.  Place beets in a microwave-safe casserole, cover, and cook on high for 10 minutes.  Carefully (HOT!) uncover and pierce with small, sharp knife to make sure they’re tender.  Let cool a few minutes and rub skins off with paper towels.  Slice off greens and a bit of the top of the beet and then slice into 1/4″ pieces.  copyright Alyce Morgan, 2011

*My recipe is for a basic fresh cheese, but is not ricotta per se.  Ricotta is made totally from fresh milk; my cheese uses yogurt.  Works beautifully here. 

**To carmelize shallots:  Peel shallots and slice thinly.  Place in a small-medium skillet with 1T olive oil and heat to low-medium low.  Let cook slowly 20-25 minutes until soft and browned.  Stir occasionally, but keep a good eye on them.  You don’t want them crispy or fried; turn down if you see that happening.                                                     recipe reposted from more time at the table july 9, 2011

Wine:  Very cold rosé or an unoaked Chardonnay.

about beets….
……………..a great source of folate…a wonderful antioxidant 
low in calories. ….very low in fat……………come in great
 I like beets cooked, but in fact they’re are better for you raw.  Nutrients are lost in the cooking process.  They’re lovely grated into salad.  Try it!   Eat ’em up, eat ’em up:  RAW RAW RAW.
Also:  How about the price?  Can’t beat it.                                
         One little thing no one mentions:
                                                 You might notice a bit of change in the 
                                                 color of the matter you deposit in the toilet after eating
                                                  red beets.  No, you’re not sick; beets are a great dye. 
                                                  Nuff said. 

some people say, but these are not truths carved in stone:

Additional health claims associated with beet juice include:

  • Aids circulation
  • Beneficial to kidneys
  • Builds red corpuscles
  • Intestinal cleanser
  • Good source of energy
  • Helps fight the flu
  • Protects against birth defects
  • Stimulates the function of liver cells
  • Renews minerals and natural sugars in the body     (courtesy dietlovetoknow.com)

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/2 cup slices (3 oz.)
Amount per Serving
Calories 37
Calories from Fat 1.8
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.2g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 65mg
Total Carbohydrate 8.5g
Dietary Fiber 1.7g
Sugars 6.8g
Protein 1.43g

Est. Percent of Calories from:


* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/nutrition-calories/food/generic/beets/#ixzz1zaSRdfXq

Read moreThe 11 Best Food You Aren’t Eating  (NYT)


Every Friday for the foreseeable future, I’ll be blogging one of the 38 healthiest ingredients from POWER FOODS : 150 DELICIOUS RECIPES WITH THE 38 HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS by the editors of Whole Living Magazine.

38 Power Foods is a group effort!   Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available.

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Jill – SaucyCooks 

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
As we go along, I’m guessing we’ll get some other writers involved.  If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:  Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com

If you liked this, you might like:

Golden Beet Potato Salad
 Photos are not terribly good on this post from several years ago, but the salad is lovely!
I’ll have to make it again. How fun to see how far I’ve come.

Sing a new song; dance to a new “beet,”

13 thoughts on “38 Power Foods, Week 4 — Beets — Golden Beet-Ricotta Salad with Fresh Cherries and Caramelized Shallots

  1. One of those days when you say, "Here's what's in the larder. What am I making out of it?" Lovely surprise–wish I could have captured the colors better. Happy Friday!

  2. Alyce, I am impressed, you make your own ricotta. Instead of just saying that, I should make some, also.This salad looks terrific and I certainly want to make it. If I don't have to make the cheese, I hope to give it a try.

  3. @Casey fyi Cheese takes just a few minutes to make and then it drains for 15 minutes. Literally, bring to a simmer 2 cups whole milk, 1 cup plain yogurt, 2t plain vinegar (or lemon juice), 1 t salt until you see curds–happens quickly. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Let drain 15 minutes. There's your soft cheese that you'd use for this dish. If you'd like it more firm, twist it up in the cloth and refrigerate a while. I like to put it in a bowl with a bit of honey and cracked black pepper–great on grilled baguette. MAKE CHEESE!!!! (OK, I'M DONE!) Happy Friday.

  4. @Casey: Forgot to say that my cheese is not true ricotta, which is made with all whole milk; my cheese (one I made by mistake one day misreading two recipes) is a little different as it contains yogurt. Thought I'd better clarify.

  5. Your golden beets look like nuggets of sunshine! I got a brilliant idea from your post. I want to Make beets with paneer .. I think it will be nice.. with little fennel and garam masala! Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Alyce,Your salad looks lovely. Love golden beets but don't often goto the trouble of hunting them down. Since I live in Phoenix,where it is hotter than hot, all summer, love your technique ofroasting them in the microwave. And add me to the list of peoplewho have been inspired to make (or at least seriously think aboutmaking) homemade ricotta!

  7. @Martha So cool–thanks! Phoenix—wow. Of course even in Colorado or St. Paul, we've had 100+ this summer, which is almost unheard of.Make cheese, do!!!! You'll be so impressed with yourself.

  8. Alyce,Fantastic post! I never thought to microwave the beets. I'll try that next time I make them. The cheese sounds like a good idea too. I tried to make cheese once and it didn't turn out—not a reliable recipe. I'll definately give yours a try. I'm sure it'll work out., and BTW the salad sound delicious!

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