Composed Salad of Smoked Beets, Pimento Goat Cheese, Greens & Pistachio Dust by Jennifer Balin

Composed Salad of Smoked Beets, Pimento Goat Cheese, Greens & Pistachio Dust by Jennifer Balin

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Serves 6-8


Smoked Beets

  • 2 handfuls of hickory chips (used for smoking in a BBQ)
  • 6 medium Chioggia beets

Pimento Goat Cheese Spread

  • 8-oz. jar sweet pimentos (in water)
  • 1 lb. goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 1 oz. shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • splash sherry vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, finely ground
  • 1 lb. assorted greens
  • vinaigrette of your choice



  1. Soak the hickory chips in cold water for 30 minutes while you do the following:
  2. Wash beets well and place in a medium pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20-25 minutes, until they are just fork tender but not too soft.  (They will continue to cook as they are smoked.)  Drain beets and set aside. Once they have cooled a bit, rub off the skin with a kitchen rag (that you don’t mind getting beet-stained).  The skin will slide right off if the beets are still warm.
  3. Drain the wet wood chips, place in the bottom of a deep pot, and set a stainless steel colander above them in the pot (the feet of the colander will keep it off the chips).
  4. Place the peeled beets in the colander and put the pot on the stovetop over medium/low heat. Cover the pot either with a tight-fitting lid or foil.
  5. As the chips heat up, the smoke will immediately start to infuse the beets. Continue smoking for 20-30 minutes for best results.  Check doneness by removing a beet and tasting – you should taste the smoke.  Chill when done.

Pimento Cheese Spread

  1. Drain the water out of the jar of pimentos, reserving two pimentos, and empty the rest of the jar into the bowl of a food processor.  Add the goat cheese, shredded white cheddar, shallot, and vinegar. Pulse the processor to break up the ingredients; then process steadily for 2 minutes until you have a smooth orange consistency with barely any specks of red pimentos.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Roughly chop the remaining two pimentos, add them into the bowl, and pulse a few times to get them blended in (you should still have some tiny visible pimento pieces in the mix.)

Pistachio Dust

  1. Spread shelled pistachios on a cookie sheet and place into an oven pre-heated to 300*F. Toast for 12 minutes, rotate the pan, and toast for another 5-8 minutes, making sure they do not burn.
  2. When they are dry and totally cooled (after at least a few hours on the counter or overnight), place in a food processor and process them to “dust.” This magic dust will last for a long time in a well-sealed jar or plastic container.  It is lovely sprinkled on just about anything, including a peanut butter sandwich.


Coat the bottom of a bowl with the pimento spread (about 2 tablespoons per serving).  Slice the beets and place on top of cheese.  Top with local greens, toasted pistachios, and a vinaigrette of your choice.  We love lemon-ginger vinaigrette.

Recipe courtesy of Sugar & Olives, Chef/Creative Director Jennifer Balin

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