As a blogger. How often do you find yourself deciding to make dishes that use ingredients that you don’t even like.

I’m serious. You make your menu for the week (apparently without thinking. At all. Whatsoever.). You go to the grocery store. Navigate the aisles with reckless abandon. Get on line to pay. Which, in the Union Square Whole Foods, wraps around the entire store. And sometimes out the door, if it’s lunchtime or the day before Thanksgiving. So you have ample time to really stare at your prospective purchases. Analyze them. Think about what it means that you are buying these exact things at this exact time in this exact Whole Foods. Ponder the meaning of life. You know how it goes.

And suddenly you think to yourself. I hate everything that is in this cart. Why in god’s name am I making this dish?

I know you’ve done it. I’ve read the posts.
Case in point.


I don’t like beets.

They are the only vegetable, besides celery (which I hate with a passion) that I do not like.

Needless to say I blame my aversion on my mother. Since she is the one who convinced me it would be a good idea for her, my aunt, and I to go on one of those fad diets when I was nine/ten-ish that promised to help you lose ten pounds in three days (a godsend to a self-conscious, overweight adolescent). It was so easy. All you had to do was eat.

And that was how I found myself at the kitchen table, gagging down a can of beets, swearing to myself that I would never ingest this disgusting purple vegetable ever again.

That was also when I quit the diet. No amount of weight loss seemed worth this kind of pain. (Although perhaps it should be noted by the folks down at Guantanamo that forced beet-eating might be a useful torture device. And one that is much more ethical than water boarding, to boot.) Plus the next night’s dinner was supposed to consist of a hot dog. And as much as I hate beets. I hate hot dogs that much more.

All this is well and good. Until, of course, I found myself in Whole Foods yesterday with not one. Not two. But six beets in my cart.

How did this happen? You may ask.

It all goes back to a few weeks ago when Ashlee of A Year In The Kitchen proposed a new blog event in which we cook our way through Michael Symon’s new cookbook, Live To Cook. I, never being one to say no to anything food related. Ever. (i.e. “Joanne, try these pig intestines.” Me: “Okay!”) Immediately jumped on board. (Am I a masochist? Possibly. How many blog events am I participating in now…? Let’s not count. No. Really. Let’s not.)

Anyway the premise is that every two weeks, we all cook the same two recipes from the book. One of the first of which was this beet salad.

Now I’m sure I could have substituted something for the beets and Ashlee would have been fine with it. Sweet potatoes, maybe. Or our old orange favorite, butternut squash.

And I would have. Until I read Symon’s blurb about the recipe. In which he promises. Absolutely swears on some dead relative’s grave. That even if you are a beet-hater. This is the recipe that will change your mind.

And so it was with great trepidation that I forged ahead.

I was a pioneer. Making my way into the great beyond. Going where no man has ever gone before. Exploring the unexplored.

It was rough. There were times when I wished I could turn back. Return to my comfort zone. First, when my fingers turned an indelible shade of purple. And then again about forty-five minutes into putting the beets in the oven. Which was really the point of no return. Since I was already over halfway there. And hungry.

Thankfully, though, Symon was right. This is the recipe that will convert beet-haters everywhere. And so I did not end up having to go to anatomy lab with an empty stomach. And I have now added another vegetable to my repertoire. A success on all accounts? I think so.
Slow-Roasted Beets with Buttermilk Blue Cheese, Arugula, and Toasted Pecans
Serves 6 as a side dish, 4 as a lunch or light dinner

1/2 cup roasted pecans (Symon calls for walnuts but I already had pecans on hand)
3 medium gold beets
3 medium red beets
1 head of garlic, halved through its equator
4 sprigs thyme
black pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
4 oz Roth Kase buttermilk blue cheese
arugula lettuce mix (Symon originally called for watercress, which was nowhere to be found in either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. So I went with arugula since it is also a peppery green.)

1. Preheat the oven to 325. In a shallow baking dish large enough to hold all the beets, place the golden and red beets, head of garlic and thyme. Add enough water to reach 1/4 inch up the sides of the pan. Season the beets with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and roast until the beats are knife-tender – about 1 hour. Remove the foil and allow the beets to cool (or just go for it and burn your fingers. If you are me.) Trim the beets and peel them. Cut into wedges.

2. In a large bowl, combine the shallot, minced garlic, salt, orange zest, orange juice, honey, and vinegar. Whisk to incorporate. Check for seasoning. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the beets. Toss gently to coat. Taste again for seasoning.

3. Divide the beets among four plates. Top each portion with pecans, blue cheese, and arugula.

Check A Year in the Kitchen on January 31st to see how everyone else’s dishes came out!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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52 Responses to Slow-Roasted Beets with Buttermilk Blue Cheese, Arugula, and Toasted Pecans

  1. Dharm says:

    I dont usually make something I dont like. I suppose it kinda helps that I like most foods?! Nice post and those beets do look good!

  2. Megan says:

    You’re so funny – and so brave for trying a vegetable that you couldn’t stand!

    I’ve always loved beets, when I was a kid, my mom used to make tuna casserole (try not to retch). I can’t stand canned tuna to this day – and will leave the room if someone tries to eat it in front of me.

    Do I need therapy for this?

  3. doggybloggy says:

    hullo – your photos went from ‘really good’ to ‘really, really good’ whats the secret?

  4. SE says:

    hey….my goodness..the salad is looking so finally you tried your hand at the beets !!!

  5. Debbi says:

    Tee hee. I did the same thing with brussels sprouts. Can’t stand them but they were tolerable when I made them, though I did end up giving the rest of the bag to a friend. I hate beets too but in all fairness, I’ve only had canned beets so I, too, have been SLIGHTLY tempted to try beets. This salad wouldn’t work as I don’t like blue cheese either. I do love hot dogs however. I haven’t eaten one in years but I love them!

  6. I LOVE beets, probably because I never used them as diet food and wasn’t forced to eat them šŸ˜‰ Golden beets are my favorite. I think they’re sweeter and roasting brings out even more of that sweet flavor. Whoever first thought of using roasted beets in a salad is my unsung hero. The dressing in this particular beet salad sounds wonderful and the gorgonzola and toasted pecans are perfect together.

  7. Michelle says:

    Last year my market had a bag-o-beets on sale for $1.99 and this was not just any bag-o-beets, it was a BIG bag-o-beets. So I bought it, in hopes that at the end of bag I would like beets.

    I tried beets every which way and I don’t like beets except for pickled beets from a jar!

  8. i know! i’ve been single for as long as i can remember! kinda would like someone to share the joy with. hah. same. i don’t know if it’s just me or whatever. who knows. girl, we are GOING TO FIND PEOPLE. hope hope. interesting about the beets. i’ve had canned beets. folic acid? i think? they’re not too shabby. ahhh chef simon.

  9. Shannon says:

    hmm, i’d say that i have become better about trying new things… but i don’t cook things i know i don’t like. i used to HATE beets when i was a kid, but definitely glad i gave them another chance šŸ™‚ this salad looks awesome!

  10. Catherine says:

    Hello Joanne! Iā€™m giving you the Happy 101 Blog Award! Have a great weekend!

  11. I seem to remember telling you to try beets roasted…. šŸ˜‰
    I think canned chunks of just about anything would turn me off. Imagine if the butternut squash you love so much came that way! *shudder*
    This is my kind of salad – so alive and colourful and full of flavour. I need to check out this cooking group.. there’s no offal in the book is there?
    Ps- steal some gloves from the lab. šŸ˜‰ No more “Lady MacBeth hands”.

  12. HA ha,u know i actually suprise myself by loving beets and not the tinned variety…jus plain boiled with a squeeze of lemon(and a dollop or 2 of myo or sour cream & chives) and im happy…’
    Love the sweetnees and cheesy texture (and the tales that it maintains my rosy cheeks)….
    Oh when i walk the supermarket ,everything finds its way to my basket and then i decide what to do with the loot ….
    And mom knows what she’s in for if i insist on picking some flowers or coffee at the counter outside while the billing is on…:-)))

  13. hmm I don’t usually make things I don’t eat. But then again I eat most things…just not a huge fan of veg.

  14. This beet salad looks sensational! I love the pics! What did you do? Like DB I do notice a big improvement. Also, thanks for letting me know about the blogger get together next Saturday, unfortunately I’ll be out of town. You’ll have to let me know if the next one.

  15. Mmm, Mmm, MMM!!! This looks and sounds so fantastic. šŸ™‚ I love the addition of blue cheese and pecans. Uhuh – I so have to try this. šŸ™‚

  16. teresa says:

    i actually have found myself in your situation, with a similar outcome. i get really excited when i’ve actually learned to like something that i didn’t like before. this salad looks AMAZING!

  17. Pam says:

    I’ve made a roasted beet salad recipe that turned my daughters into beet lovers. Well, not really beet lovers, but they do like that salad. And only that salad.

  18. I won’t usually try something I don’t like…but that said there’s not much I don’t like.

  19. You are so brave! When I first saw the title and it had the word beets in it I almost clicked the x – but since it was your blog I had to read knowing I’d be entertained even if I hate beets (ok, I really don’t know if I hate them or not, I think there must have been something from my early childhood as well) I can’t ever even remember tasting a beet to tell you the truth. Ok,ok, if I ever happen to have beets in front of me again I promise to try just a bite and then I’ll let you know. I’ll tell you one thing, this salad sure looks delicious! I’d definitely dig in without a second thought šŸ™‚

  20. Kim says:

    I understand exactly what you’re saying about blogging and trying new and different ingredients. I’m glad to hear that you did like the beets in this salad. I’ve never had a beet before, but I would love to give them a try. They definitely look beautiful in this salad. I just saw Michael Symon’s cookbook in the store today. I’m interested to follow along as you write about his recipes. Sounds fun!

  21. dp says:

    I didn’t taste my first beet until I was about 25 but since then I’m what you’d call the complete opposite of a beet-hater. I love beets in any and every form. I also pickle and can my own beets and eat them with just about everything.

    It’s good to go out of the comfort zone every once in a while šŸ™‚

  22. Sophie says:

    I adore beets though!! They are so georgous & tasteful!!

    This is one georgous & ooh so wonderful looking salad, Joanne!!

    Colourful too!!

  23. Karine says:

    Trying or rediscovering new ingredients is one of the joy of blogging :).

    I have never tried beets in salad. Great idea!

    But I need to “retry” arugula. The first time was not a huge success for me :(.

  24. Great salad! I don’t understand people’s aversion to beets, frankly. Quite a few people around me don’t like them and are unlike you, quite adamant about never eating them. Their loss.

  25. comfycook says:

    I have this sneaking feeling, I may have to try these to prove, I don’t like beets but I do like beet borcht and beet horseradish.

  26. I love canned beets! Cold with dressing on them. I know I would love this! I mean buttermilk blue cheese? How can you go wrong?!

  27. Chef Aimee says:

    I think meeting your aversion to beets head on and trying to overcome it is noble! šŸ™‚ I admit loving beets, especially pickled, and roasting them adds a new dimension of flavor, indeed. What a great salad you created!

  28. Karen says:

    When I was a kid I didn’t eat beets… not that I didn’t like them, but they made everything on my plate turn red! Now I love them and this salad looks and sounds wonderful!

  29. Jen says:

    i love BEETS! and that cheese in the salad, yum!

  30. theUngourmet says:

    I like fresh beets so much better than the canned ones. This is one gorgeous and healthy looking salad! I’m glad you faced your hatred for beets head on! šŸ˜€

  31. Faith says:

    I absolutely love beets! I’m so glad you’ve been converted Joanne! šŸ˜‰ I’ll have to make this salad for my hubby, lol!

  32. Bob says:

    Hmmm, well I’ll try it. I’m willing to attempt conversion. šŸ˜€

  33. Velva says:

    Joanne, as I was reading your post, my head just kept going up and down in agreement. I have put so many things in my cart that I either did not recognize (prior to reading a blog post) or had a an aversion too, but somehow the blog post convinced me that I was missing something.

    I am so glad that you were willing to take the plunge with the beets because that salad looks FABULOUS!!!! I enjoy beets so, I know this salad would be delicious. I am adding this recipe to my bulging folder of recipes.

    I have been in that Whole Foods in Union Square. I don’t know how people get out of there with ten cents left in their pockets.

  34. Mari says:

    Wow that looks really good! I find myself trying things that I didn’t like in the past but I usually like them now. I was a close minded child lol

  35. Man I am seeing a lot of beets lately… I am gonna LOVE your next recipe, and if you pull the beets off, i would love this one…

  36. Debinhawaii says:

    Good for you overcoming beet loathing! I don’t love them myself but manage to eat them now and again. It’s good to try new things! And with blue cheese and pecans you can’t go wrong! šŸ˜‰

  37. Amy says:

    You probably don’t remember the beet salad I posted a long time ago… the one with the gorgonzola, cucumbers and mustard vinaigrette? THAT had the same impact on me. Converted me from a beet hater to a beet-liker. I’ll make this – sounds really good.

    Celery? You and I are totally on the same page there. HATE celery. It’s possibly the only food that I loath. Can’t stand it by itself and can’t stand it mixed into things. I could never live in France, where mirepoix is a staple.

  38. Julie says:

    i hate blue cheese. i would have left that out of my cart for sure but you were so strong with keeping the beets in. i’m proud of you man.

    make me some beets? i love.

  39. Kathleen says:

    You are sooo funny. I’ve recently converted to a beet “liker”. I’ve gotta try this salad and maybe I might move over more toward “love”.

  40. Kerstin says:

    What a gorgeous salad! I like roasted beets, but like you, can’t stand celery – yuck!

  41. I am totally with you, and it happens most often when I’m at the farmer’s market. Sometimes it’s something I’ve never had before, and I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s something I haven’t had (or liked) since I was a kid, and I’m giving it a second shot. I rediscovered brussel sprouts this way. The salad looks great!

  42. Katy ~ says:

    I happen to love beets, LUV them. I hate okra. DESPISE it. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a recipe in the world that could change my mind. Hats off to you for trying a vegetable you dislike.

  43. ruchikacooks says:

    Love the color of the plate..Very healthy.

    Thanks for visiting ruchikacooks. Rasam is our Indian version of soup, glad that you liked it..with the freezing weather, I just wanted to make something warm šŸ™‚

  44. Elle says:

    At some point I found out that those red discs in a can and freshly cooked beets are two enitrely different things…and that roasted beets are yummy. This salad looks womderful..very colorful and fill of flavor!

  45. Andreas says:

    I rather cook something I haven’t tried before, than something I don’t like (of which there aren’t many thing in the first place).
    Come to think of it, I “re”-discovered green asparagus for me last year. I guess white asparagus will require some serious effort. šŸ˜‰

  46. Meredith says:

    I really like how you tried the recipe even though you already knew you were not a bid fan of beets. That has to be even harder than trying something new!

  47. Anonymous says:

    What do you do with the roasted garlic cloves? Do they go into the dressing?

  48. Gorgeous salad, it looks delicious! I found your blog from Mi Chiamo Candace! I’m following now, I’m enjoying your blog and recipes!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Not such a clever remark you made about Guantanamo bay and eating beets as torture…

    • Joanne says:

      Anonymous – Thanks for your comment, however I just want to make it clear that I think torture of any kind, no matter the circumstance is wrong. That would be the irony, though, in using beet eating as a torture device…it actually wouldn’t be torture at all and thus would be much more ethically acceptable.

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