Beet and Goat Cheese Appetizers (Classy!)

Hold me down! Are these beautiful or what??


They are from Wolfgang Puck’s Las Vegas restaurant, Spago. I’ve been there multiple times, it’s great, as this appetizer/small salad undoubtedly will be. Oh, I adore beets and goat cheese! And if you need something very sophisticated to serve, this recipe fills the bill. Thanks to Saveur for the recipe and the pic, and to reader/commenters for improving the recipe!


5 large red beets, roasted, peeled,
and cut crosswise using a mandoline, into 1⁄4″-thick slices
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
9 – 12 oz. goat cheese, softened
4 tsp. minced fresh chives
4 tsp. minced fresh parsley
2 1⁄2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. freshly ground black
3⁄4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 tsp. orange zest
1 small shallot, minced
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. hazelnut oil
Kosher salt, to taste
3 tbsp. chopped hazelnuts

1. Using a 2 5/8″ round cookie cutter, cut out 20 of the beet slices; reserve scraps for another use (like borscht or a salad). In a 12″ skillet, bring rice vinegar and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and, working in batches, cook beet slices, turning once, about 2 minutes. Transfer slices to a paper towel–lined baking sheet. Pat dry and let chill.

2. Stir goat cheese together with the chives, parsley, 2 tsp. thyme, and pepper in a bowl. Chill in refrigerator for 15 min, then roll out between two pieces of parchment to same thickness as beet slices. Refrigerate for another 30 min. Cut out shapes to match those of the beet slices.

3. Bring orange juice to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to 1⁄3 cup, 4–5 minutes. Let cool. Transfer juice to a bowl along with remaining thyme, balsamic vinegar, zest, and shallots. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil and hazelnut oil; whisk until smooth. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper; let chill.

4. To serve: Put 1 beet slice on work surface. Top with a cheese slice, then top with another beet slice. Repeat to create a stack with 4 layers of cheese between 5 beet slices. Make 4 stacks in all. Slice each stack into 4 wedges; transfer to 4 plates. Drizzle vinaigrette over each plate; garnish with nuts. Serve with mixed greens, if you like.


Tuna, Chick Pea and Broccoli Salad with Yogurt

Thank you, Martha Rose Shulman — you rock!

I love a good salad with tuna fish — and this one, with veggie and extra protein — is destined to become a favorite. Now all I need to do is wait for April…when we once again have goat yogurt:)

Tuna, Chickpeas and Broccoli Salad With Yogurt Dressing

This is inspired by that great Italian combination, tuna and beans. It’s a salad that keeps well in the refrigerator. The broccoli will not retain its pretty green color once in contact with the acid in the dressing, so for best results keep the broccoli separate, along with a tablespoon of the dressing. Just before you want to eat, toss in the broccoli and extra dressing; or eat the broccoli separately with the dressing.

1 can water-packed light tuna, drained

1/2 can chickpeas, (3/4 cup) drained and rinsed

1 stalk celery, cut in small (1/4-inch) dice

1/2 red bell pepper, cut in small (1/4-inch) dice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (optional)

1 broccoli crown, steamed for 4 to 5 minutes and broken into florets

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon vinegar (red wine, sherry or white wine)

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt, or if you are lucky enough to have access to it, goat yogurt.

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, chickpeas, celery, bell pepper, parsley and chives. Keep the broccoli separate.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and Dijon mustard. Whisk in the olive oil and yogurt, and toss with the tuna and chickpea mixture. Refrigerate in a bowl or in containers until ready to take to work or eat. Add the broccoli just before serving.

Yield: 2 1/2 servings.

Advance preparation: This keeps for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving: 240 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 22 milligrams cholesterol; 19 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 492 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 24 grams protein

Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese

Y’all know I’m a big fan of Smitten Kitchen, right? Well, Deb over there is as big a fan of sweet potatoes as I am, so it just seems fated that I feature her sweet potato coins adorned with goat cheese as a prelude to Thanksgiving.

This recipe is really a sort of salad, using roasted sweet potatoes as the serving “shell”. If you don’t like sweet potatoes, you can mix the rest of the ingredients with leftover roasted turkey and still call it a salad. Although personally, I can’t understand anyone not liking sweet potatoes. They are the perfect side dish, getting you through the meal until the real star appears, aka dessert!

Serves 2 1/2

1 1/2 pounds sweet potato, scrubbed, unpeeled, in 3/4- to 1-inch coins
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup toasted and cooled pecan halves
2 tiny or 1 small shallot
2 stalks celery
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon dried cranberries or cherries (optional)
2 ounces firm goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet generously with olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Lay sweet potatoes in one layer on the oiled sheet. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release from the pan with no effort. If they’re not, let it cook longer. Sprinkle them with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper and return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until the undersides match the tops.

Meanwhile, prepare your salad. Chop your pecans well, mince your shallot, chop your celery and parsley, mince cranberries if using them. Crumble your goat cheese. If you got too soft a goat cheese for mixing, set it aside and sprinkle it on top. If it’s firmer, stir it into the mixture. In a small dish, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon dijon. Pour half over salad.

When the sweet potatoes are done, set a couple coins aside just in case someone in your party isn’t into the toppings. Lay the rest on a serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salsa over each round. Pour remaining salad dressing over top, to taste. Eat immediately.

Pepita Salad

Craving something crunchy? Me too! And here it is, perfect for the fading days of summer:

Pumpkin seeds, yellow split peas and cilantro in a cool and refreshing salad!

You can serve the lettuce mixed in, or under the split peas depending on how you want to serve this.

1 cup pepitas, toasted (divided)
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, well washed and lightly packed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese or hard goat cheese, freshly grated
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 1 medium lemon
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups cooked yellow split peas*
2 handfuls lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

Make the cilantro pesto by blending 1/3 cup of the toasted pepitas, the cilantro, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and chile pepper with a hand blender (food processor or standard blender) until smooth. Continue blending as you gradually drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto comes together into a vibrant green sauce. Taste and add a pinch or two or salt if needed.

In a large bowl toss the yellow split peas and remaining pepitas with the pesto until everything is coated. Add the salad greens and gently toss again.

Serves 6 or so.

*To cook the dried yellow split peas bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add 2 cups (rinsed) dried split yellow peas and cook for 20 -30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, salt to taste and set aside.

Thanks to

Jamie Oliver’s Peaches and Chevre Salad

Ok, here we go again…Jamie Oliver anything is automatically a big hit on this blog. Why is that? Seems his touch is golden, especially with goat cheese. So I’m going with it! Plus, people, there is just nothing better in the summer than fresh peaches. Yumsters!

Summer White or Yellow Peaches, cut into slices
Soft, Fresh Goat’s Cheese (chevre)
Mixed Soft Lettuces (Oak Leaf, Beet Greens, Frissee, Lollo Rosso, etc.)
Sweet White Corn-on-the-Cob, cut from cob, lightly steam, drain
Pancetta or bacon (approx. 2 thin slices per serving) cook until crisp
Garlic Croutons (made from country white or baguette bread, 1/2 inch cubes, toasted and rolled in warm garlic butter)
1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive OIl
1 – 2 T Peach Vinegar (or Balsamic vinegar)
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Pinch of Salt
Dash of Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Whisk the dressing ingredients together, taste for seasoning, add a scant half a teaspoon of sugar if needed. Add a few spoonfuls of dressing to the salad greens and corn, enough to coat lightly. Arrange the greens on individual serving plates, top with dollops of goat’s cheese, peach slices and warm croutons and pancetta or bacon.

Hard-to-Beat Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

We harvested two rows of fresh beets from the garden yesterday, boiled them up, peeled them and put most in the freezer (yes, cooked beets freeze quite well!). But a nice stash of them went into a lovely cool salad for a hot summer’s day. This takes nearly zero effort. You’ll love it! And doesn’t it look scrumptious?

Those glistening cubes of ruby red, studded with white and green:)


  • 8 ounces beets, cooked and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 6 leaves mint


  1. Grate the beets in a food processor or on a box grater, or cube coarsely (my preference!). Drain away most of the excess water that comes off the beets.

  2.  In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss the beets in the dressing, and move to a serving bowl. Top with the crumbled goat cheese, and sliced mint. Serve on the side of grilled fish or vegetables.
    Thanks to Serious Eats for the inspiration!

Potato, Chevre, Ham and Zucchini Salad

By now you must have some lovely zucchini in you garden who are crying out to be used in a dish before they grow to dirigible size. Get on this recipe! I’m serving at a birthday party tomorrow, and I know it will be everything that plain old potato salad isn’t! And NO mayo, for those looking to escape mayo’s clutches:)

I also added halved grape tomatoes and herbs. Quite lovely!


6 ounces Chevre, at room temp

1/4 cup Natural Yogurt

1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar

2 Small Shallots, sliced thin and caramelized

1-2 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley

Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

Sea Salt (optional)

6 medium sized Red Potatoes or Yukon Gold, roasted, cooled and sliced

2 small Zucchini, sliced

1 1/2 cups good quality Smoked Ham, diced (feel free to substitute crisply fried bacon, fried with the shallots)

2 Roasted Piquillo Peppers, sliced into thin strips

A huge handful of Micro Greens or sprouts


In a large bowl combine: chevre, yogurt, vinegar, caramelized shallots, parsley, pepper and salt and mix well. Add in the prepared zucchini, ham, piquillo and mix to coat. Add in the potatoes and micro green, folding gently so as not to destroy the potatoes in the process. Check for seasoning and chill for an hour or so before serving.

Thanks to The Endive Chronicles for the recipe:).