When I see the first beautiful tiny green cabbages at the market, I always do a little happy dance. I love Brussels sprouts, and I’ve learned that their roasted nuttiness goes with just about anything fall or wintery, from an add-in to a salad to a stir-fry, or tossed into a salad that lets them be the star, or as the co-star to beets, as I’ve done here.
When I’m in France, I tend to eat more beets than when I’m in Texas simply because they’re always available, already peeled, cooked, and vacuum packed, in the vegetable sections at the supermarkets (plus they’re about 1 euro apiece). Getting them out of the wrapper without beet juice spilling all over your kitchen counter is the hardest part.
Here’s what I’m doing when I’m in Texas: I roast more beets than I need for a particular recipe, chop them up into tiny cubes, and freeze them in plastic bags. When I’m in the mood for beet-something, I just take them out of the freezer, let them thaw, and proceed. The messy work has already been done – it’s even easier than buying the beets at the Carrefour.
With this salad, we’re just talking about roasting time, so you can cook these up one day, let them cool, then toss together in a salad the next. The Brussels sprouts and beets soak up vinaigrette like crazy, which is why I’m giving you a recipe for a ton – plus if you dress the salad, eat some of it, and have leftovers, it’s happy in the fridge for a day. Just taste, add more vinaigrette and feta, and enjoy round two.
Brussels Sprouts, Beets + Thyme
Makes 4 small or 2 large servings
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for serving
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large beet
- Basic Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
- ¼ cup toasted and chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup Feta crumbles
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Slice the Brussels sprouts into thin pieces and toss onto the baking sheet with the fresh thyme, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 20 minutes or until browned on both sides, turning once.
- While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, wrap the beet in foil and let it begin cooking on the bottom rack of the oven. It’ll probably need more than 20 minutes; an hour should do it — to test doneness, remove the beet from the oven, carefully open the foil wrapper and slide a knife into the flesh. Let the beet cool completely before removing the foil, then the skin, before chopping it into 1/4-inch cubes.
- Put the roasted Brussels sprouts and beets in a bowl and toss with some of the Basic red wine vinaigrette. Taste and add more if needed. Sprinkle with Feta, walnuts and thyme and serve.
Basic Red Wine Vinaigrette
Makes ¾ cup
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon shallot
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup olive oil
Put the first four ingredients in a jam jar and shake shake shake. Add the oil, shake again, and taste for seasonings. Refrigerate.