Avocado and Roasted Beets with Black Olives, Ricotta Salata and Marcona Almonds

By • June 13, 2012 • 6 Comments


19 Save

Author Notes: This salad is an amalgam of sorts -- the kind of recipe that sort of falls into place when remembering your favorite elements of numerous recipes and salads. I adore the combination of roasted beets and avocado so knew I wanted to start there. I began by roasting beets according to Amanda’s instructions to concentrate their flavor (http://www.food52.com/recipes/4149_the_best_way_to_cook_beets). I then remembered two great details from a Suzanne Goin recipe for a roasted beet salad: mixing in thinly sliced shallots with freshly roasted beets, and nestling the beets with thin slabs of ricotta salata (a most welcome departure from the ubiquitous roasted beet - goat cheese duo). My salad was starting to come together but needed a little punch to round out the flavors. I decided to add some black olives -- an ingredient I knew would pair well based on a great, simple avocado salad in the cookbook, Recipes from an Italian Summer. For the finishing touches, I drizzled in a lime-chili vinaigrette for brightness, and then scattered fresh mint, basil and marcona almonds on top, because, well, you can never go wrong with marcona almonds. After you’ve roasted your beets (a step that can be done in advance), the salad comes together very easily. It’s also very adaptable. While lovely as a composed salad, the same recipe can easily be transformed into a more rustic main dish by mixing these same ingredients with farro, quinoa or another grain. EmilyC

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 bunch beets (or about three golf ball-sized beets), mixed colors if possible
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • heavy pinch of cayenne
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup black olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 oz ricotta salata, cut into thin slabs
  • handful fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
  • fresh mint leaves, left whole if small
  • ¼ cup marcona almonds
  • sea salt
  1. To roast beets: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Cut off the tops and roots, then scrub if they’re dirty. Lay a large piece of foil on a baking sheet, leaving half the foil hanging off one end. Place the beets on top of the foil on the baking sheet, and sprinkle the beets with olive oil (just enough to coat them) and salt and pepper. Fold the foil to make a packet and crimp the edges. Bake until tender (you can check by piercing a fork through the foil) for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. Let them cool in the foil packet. When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove them from the foil and peel off the skin with your fingers.
  2. To make lime-chili vinaigrette: Whisk together lime juice, honey, and cayenne, then drizzle in extra virgin olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified.
  3. Cut the roasted beets into small wedges, then toss with the thinly sliced shallots. Drizzle in enough vinaigrette to lightly dress, a few teaspoons at a time (reserving more vinaigrette for finishing the salad). Set aside.
  4. Cut avocado in half lengthwise, remove pit, and peel. Cut into ¼-slices, then into wedges.
  5. To plate: arrange the wedges of roasted beets on your place, then nestle in the slabs of ricotta salata, avocado slices, and olives. Scatter mint, basil and marcona almonds over the top, then drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad to taste.

Comments (6) Questions (0)

Default-small
Default-small
Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

This salad looks Perfect! Wonderful combinations!

Img_7818

almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks so much! It's one of my favorite things I've made in awhile. I had fun arranging everything on the plate since my salads are typically more of the dump and mix together variety! : )

3-bizcard

almost 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I just made the salad and wanted to report back, LOVED IT!! I thought I had ricotta salata but didn't so I had to sub some hard goat cheese it went really well. The lime juice dressing brings this all together beautifully, I used 3 tbs of lime juice (crazy about limes) All the components are perfectly balanced and so delicious. I had a hard boiled egg left over so quartered it and had it with the salad. It's perfect and absolutely delicious.

Img_7818

almost 2 years ago EmilyC

I'm SO happy you liked this! Thanks so much for trying it and reporting back! I agree with you on the lime dressing...I went back and forth on whether I should do a lemon or lime vinaigrette but think the lime works really well here.

3-bizcard

almost 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Making this tonight, just roasted some beets today and happen to have some avocado's I need to use. Dinner!!! Sounds perfect.

Img_7818

almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Oh -- I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I'd love to know what you think. I had it today for a late lunch, and then the whole family is having it tonight with leftover chicken (Merrill's panko-crusted chicken).