Warm Beet & Queso Fresco Salad
I recently started ordering some of my weekly produce from Imperfect Produce (thanks to my friend, Anna!). They take excess produce that's deemed not "pretty enough" for grocery stores and sell them directly to consumers. This produce is generally thrown away, adding to an already terrible food waste problem in the States. Aside from reducing food waste and helping farmers sell excess produce, Imperfect Produce also lets you pick the produce every week, so that you can order the correct amount and things you'll actually eat. They're not paying me to say any of this - I'm just passionate about reducing food waste and eating lots of vegetables! If this piques your interest, click the link above and check if it's available in your city - we'll both get a $10 credit towards our next box.
This week, I added some golden beets to my box. They are incredibly nutritious and super filling. Golden beets are somewhere between red beets and sweet potatoes; they are less "earthy" than red beets and a little less sweet than sweet potatoes. One my go-to's in the fall is my cumin and smoked paprika sweet potatoes so I figured I'd give it a good with these summery golden beets! I also had a huge leftover wheel of queso fresco in the fridge (when will they make baby queso fresco wheels?! WHEN.) and the salty, creaminess made perfect sense with the other flavors. You can serve this salad as a side or eat the whole thing as a main, like I did. The only thing I would do differently next time is add some toasted sunflower seeds for another layer of texture.
And finally, if you like beets are looking for more, check out my warm farro and vegetable pan.
Serves 2 as a Side, 1 as a Main
- 2-3 medium beets, peeled and cubed
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tsp honey
- Juice of 1/4 lemon or 1/2 lime
- queso fresco to your liking
- cilantro to garnish
- salt to taste
Heat pan on medium high heat and add the olive oil. Wait until the pan is very hot and the oil is smoking. Add the cubed beets to the pan and toss to coat in oil. Cook for 5-8 mins, tossing every minute or so and until the beets start picking up some color.
Add in the cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Toss well and cook for another 2 mins. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water - the pan will sizzle. Immediately cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat slightly to medium, and cook for 5 mins undisturbed. Then lift the lid and check for desired doneness. If the beets are still too tough, add another 2 tablespoons of water, toss, and place the lid for an additional 4-5 mins. If there is any water left, leave on the stove and toss until all of the water has evaporated.
Once you feel the beets are cooked to your liking, turn off the hear and add in a teaspoon of honey and toss well. Next, add in the cilantro leaves and lemon/lime juice.
Plate your beets and top with queso fresco.