roasted beet salad with cumin and mint

The other night I went to a potluck. I took a double batch of blueberry coffee cake and this salad.

I came home with two scraped-clean dishes. Win!

This salad is one of my new favorite ways to serve beets.

I toss a flurry of cumin seeds around in a cast iron skillet until they are fragrant and golden. With my mortar and pestle, I halfway pulverize them—I want both powder and cracked seeds, for the texture and eye appeal.

I whisk the cumin into a dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss it with the still-slighty-warm-from-the-oven beets.

I blanket the beets with a generous handful of minced fresh mint, and voilá, a yummy salad is born. And promptly devoured. (But I already covered that part of the story.)

I feel like I’m scoring all over the place with good beet recipes this summer. There’s the cilantro beet salad, the roasted carrot and beet salad with avocado, and now this salad. In years past there was this classic beet salad with feta and caramelized onions, and even a chocolate beet cake.

What are your favorite ways to cook beets? Do you have some great recipes that I simply must be enlightened with?

I have a long row of beets growing pretty and fat out in the garden, so I’ll need all the creative pointers I can get.

Roasted Beet Salad with Cumin and Mint
Adapted from the 2007 issue of Gourmet magazine (via epicurious)

3 medium beets (about 1 1/4 pounds), roasted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

Peel and thinly slice the still-slightly-warm beets

Toast the cumin seeds in a skilled over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until a couple shades darker brown and fragrant. Grind in a mortar and pestle—you want a fine powder but with a few cracked seeds remaining. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. Pour over the beets and toss to coat. Immediately before serving, garnish with the mint.

This same time, years previous: bacon-wrapped breadstickszucchini parmesan frittata, coconut oil-popped popcorn, chit-chat


  • Deb Johnson, Quiltbeeme

    my favorite way to cook beets is to set them on the ground surrounded by rocks. Spray heavily with fire starter. Light them and when they are nothing more than ash and embers, wet them down and forget they were ever there! not a beet fan…….. he he 😉

    • Jennifer Jo

      You win the Funniest Comment Award Ever. I hooted, quite loudly. And my husband read it and laughed out loud, too. He thinks you're on to something (he's a beet hater).

  • Margo

    I'm too lazy to take skins off – I did it when I canned beets, but I was annoyed.

    I'm sorry to run on and on – I love talking food. Anyway, my kids love fish and seafood of all kinds, but herring is rather strong. I asked G to put the little pieces on the cute little sandwiches and she naturally wanted to eat one. She did and loved it, and then she and Ben fought over the extra piece. I acted like this was normal instead of congratulating them on an unusual taste.

  • Margo

    I just canned pickled beets the other day from the recipe in Simply in Season.

    This salad looks great. . . except that I'm not eating mint because of reflux. Dad-drat.

    We had a fab-o beet salad tonight with our corn: I roast beets every time the oven is on. I leave the skins on, chop, and mix with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little rosemary. The salade composee tonight was room-temp beets, feta, capers, toasted walnuts, and a splash of white wine vinegar. We had cucumber, cream cheese, dill and herring sandwiches too. HA. I'm reading that French children book too, now! But we didn't eat in curses 🙂

    • Jennifer Jo

      I've always taken the beet skins off. I wonder why…

      Your salad combo sounds lovely. I've never tried herring. What did the kids think?

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