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Nutty Roasted Beet Salad with Sambal Oelek

For a couple of decades, beets were relegated to the almost-universally disliked vegetable pile, along with cauliflower and brussels sprouts. It seems all three of these lovely veggies are getting a second chance, and people are loving all of the new iterations of these now-popular foods. 

I’m sure Dwight Schrute would like to take credit for the increased popularity of beets, but I believe the real truth is that people started learning how to cook beets instead of buying them pickled in cans. As it turns out, ruby-colored beets are pleasing to the eye and the tastebuds, especially when they are roasted. This recipe combines roasted beets with salty and sweet, and tangy and spicy ingredients; and the result is a delicious, well-balanced beet salad that is perfect for a light lunch or side dish. 

Ingredients:

1.5 lb. beets

1.5 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. Sambal Oelek (Asian chili paste)

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small shallot, finely chopped

½ c. walnuts or pecans

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scrub the beets and cut off the tops and bottoms. Cut the beets in half. Place the halved beets on a baking sheet and mix them with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake them for about an hour, or until tender. When the beets are finished baking, let them cool and then remove the skins. They should slide right off. Cut the beets into long, thin sticks or small bite-sized pieces. 

In a small bowl, combine the rice wine vinegar, Sambal Oelek, honey, shallots and nuts. Add to the beets and taste as your pour to make sure you have added the amount of dressing you like. Season with salt and pepper. Add the nuts and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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