Sweet roasted beets, creamy fresh mozzarella cheese and rich balsamic vinegar come together in this quick and easy recipe for Roasted Beet and Fresh Mozzarella Salads.
“Mommy, tomorrow after camp can we pick up Goldfish for a snack?” Paige asked the other night as we sat down to dinner. I agreed with a smile, mentally calculating which store we’d need to stop at to make it happen. Did we need to drive out to Target? Or would a convenience store do? Or maybe we’d hit the grocery store?
These days, everything requires a plan. When I worked at home, my hours were long and my stress-level high. But if we needed something, I could just pick up and go at a moment’s notice. That was one of the perks of freelancing. And though sometimes work would keep me up into the wee hours, the flexibility to volunteer at Will’s school and lead Paige’s Girl Scout troop made it all worth it.
That’s not to say my new job isn’t flexible. It is. And we live close to my office, so I am never particularly rushed. But since there are only a limited amount of hours in a day, I have to plan well. Otherwise nothing gets done.
On weekends, we head to local farmers markets. When we moved here, I made a point to find the markets closest to us and start going. Farmers markets have long been a part of our life, so it was natural and necessary. But doing so has shown me an interesting difference between Connecticut and Maine: the growing season is a little different here. With cooler summers, tomatoes have a much shorter season and blueberries don’t ripen until weeks later. Although I have seen corn at some farm stands, it hasn’t appeared in farmers markets yet — and those tomatoes? Still really hard to come by.
But different doesn’t mean bad. Beans and peas are plentiful. So are all sorts of squash. And Maine blueberries? They are awesome.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve had beets a few times. I used beet greens in my first Maine Course column for the newspaper I work for (check it out: Fried Halloumi with Beet Greens Bruschetta). And I’ve also roasted beets a few times — including for this quick and easy recipe for a simple summer salad. The beets are roasted simply — with just a little olive oil, salt and pepper. You can do that ahead of time, if you wish. Then they are piled on a salad with slices of fresh mozzarella, cucumbers (no, they aren’t pictured in the final photo — but trust me: you want them in there) and a drizzle of balsamic.
Just say yes. The combination of flavors and textures works. Trust me on that.
- 1 lb fresh beets, , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper, , to taste
- 1 head lettuce, , washed and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 cucumber, , sliced
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella, , sliced
- balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
- sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil. Spread the beets on the baking sheets (did they come with stems? Chop them and roast 'em too!). Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast the beets for 20-25 minutes, until tender.
- Arrange the lettuce and cucumbers on four plates. Top each with 1/4 of the mozzarella and 1/4 of the beets. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy immediately.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.