perfectly normal April 26, 2011

Sometimes, I find myself avoiding posting things on my blog that might be too…normal. Subconsciously, I think the food blog world has gotten into this pattern of bigger/weirder/more. Each post trying to out-bacon or out-cupcake the next one. That’s never been the focus here, for sure. While I’m all about freestyling and experimenting, oddities don’t really have a place in my kitchen. This is food. Cooking. Nourishment. Experiences. There’s no camera crew here and no tape measures to make sure my recipe reaches a height requirement. I wonder some days if simple food catches peoples interest the way it does mine.

Beet and goat cheese salads are ubiquitous these days. As I said on Twitter, I’m surprised McDonald’s hasn’t put out their own version. You know what, though? I still enjoy the combination thoroughly. It often makes an appearance at my house with a tweak here or there – toasted pepitas sprinkled on top, lavender flowers thrown in with the goat cheese, a bit of flavored salt. Personalizing a classic isn’t going to make it a feature on Man vs. Food…and I’m okay with that. I hope you all are, too.

This salad came about because of my current obsession with radishes. I’ve been using them in photoshoots and cooking with them seemingly non-stop. The ones we’ve had from the local farmstand market are so tender and flavorful, you really only need some butter and salt. Wanting to pair them up with a little goat cheese, I thought I’d throw the last handful into a beet salad – they add a lovely crunch. Outside of the radishes, there’s really particularly nothing out of the ordinary. There is, however, white truffle oil. I was gifted with (what can only be described as a jug of) white truffle oil and I’ve been adding it here and there in my cooking. A simple vinaigrette that wafts that earthy truffle smell – it’s heavenly. Make sure you have bread on hand to sop up the vinegary, shockingly pink liquid left behind by this salad. Trust me.

Roasted Beet & Radish Salad with White Truffle Vinaigrette – serves 4 as a salad course or light entree

  • 4 large beets (about 2 – 2 1/2 pounds) washed thoroughly, dried and stems trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 large radishes, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby arugula, washed and dried thoroughly
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, softened to slightly less than room temperature
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • sea salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste

– To roast the beets: Preheat your oven to 375. Laying out a large sheet of aluminum foil, place the beets in the middle and drizzle with the oil. Wrap them up completely in the aluminum foil so that it makes a pouch. Place on rack of oven and roast until tender and easily pierced with a knife – 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cook longer if they aren’t tender when you test them. Once roasted, allow to cool enough to handle. Peel the skins off – either with a small paring knife or with your fingers. Allow to cool lightly covered until room temperature.

– To assemble the salad: Whisk together the white balsamic vinegar & white truffle oil and set aside. For serving, I  like to do this family style so folks can compose their own bites. Slice the cooled beets thinly into slices or cut them into cubes and arrange them on a platter. Layer the thinly sliced radishes on top of the beets in an even layer. Sprinkle the arugula evenly on top of the radish layer. Add crumbles of goat cheese across the top haphazardly but evenly enough so it’s distributed. Season the entire dish with a pinch or two of salt and 3 or 4 grinds of fresh pepper. Drizzle over the vinaigrette (you may want to re-whisk quickly) and serve immediately with some crusty bread.


Nicole Franzen Apr 26, 2011 12:04 pm

I love simplicity in the kitchen. Fresh ingredients dont need to be messed with. Simply salads and veggies can be extremely satisfying :)

Cookin' Canuck Apr 26, 2011 01:04 pm

Radishes with white truffle oil – now that is a far-from-ordinary combination that I have to try. Lovely photos as usual.

Broderick Apr 26, 2011 08:04 pm

There’s nothing wrong with normal! Looks great

Angela Napolitano Apr 26, 2011 09:04 pm

Gorgeous salad! Can’t wait to try it.

heidi Apr 27, 2011 04:04 am

I agree, there is nothing to not like about radishes and beets, as well as there is nothing wrong with posting simple recipes (I also was *talking* abt that on my blog today). Actually I´m quite intrigued by the addition of the truffle vinaigrette, so I guess I will try to replicate your recipe very soon. thanks!

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen Apr 27, 2011 06:04 am

I’m obsessed with radishes. Sometimes I buy them in abundance and don’t always know what to do with them. To be honest more than the taste – the shear beauty it adds to anything it touches is why my heart is on it. This surely is on my list.

Tricia @ {every}nothing wonderful Apr 27, 2011 11:04 am

I love classic recipes and accessible ingredients. I think that’s why “The Art of Simple Food” is such a stained mess in my collection! I’m always really conscious of this when I’m working on recipes – “can people get these ingredients”, “can they identify the flavors”, “does this sound overwhelming?”. I also worry about being too plain, too common. Ahhh, balance.

I was talking to my neighbor the other day, a food writer, about that issue. Her comment? “Who cares? Those are the best recipes. Everyone can make a lamb with mint but not everyone can make it amazing. Making it yours is what matters, not what it is.” (sorry, yes, lamb – so not vegetarian). It’s true though, right? Make it yours.

Truffle? Now that’s a stroke of genius. It’s the perfect earthy grounding touch to a flavor that can sometimes be distracting (the sweetness of beets, as opposed to their earthy undertones). It sounds divine. I’m absolutely giving it a try! Thank you!

Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane Apr 27, 2011 11:04 am

I used to ponder the same issue almost every time I sat down to write a post/recipe. About a year ago, I came to the same conclusion. I’m enamored by simple food. I voraciously crave it. Like you, I love to create minor tweaks and variations but don’t want to mess too much with a good thing.

It’s all about restraint.

Harold Apr 27, 2011 11:04 am

I’m a lot liking the radish, not sure I’ve ever had a good beet. That said. The other overused foodie thing is the preoccupation with spicy. If it’s got some heat maybe that’s just masking the taste. A little savory is enough for these taste buds…

merry jennifer Apr 27, 2011 12:04 pm

You’re so right about the food blog trend these days. Honestly? I just want food that is (reasonably) good for me and my family, food that tastes delicious, and food that I can cook – without needing to purchase a sous vide machine.
It’s one of the reasons I come here, of course. But you knew that. :)

Molly Apr 27, 2011 01:04 pm

I’ve somehow managed to add radishes to every dish I’ve made for the past week. Beets are a close second. Thanks for the recipe; I saw something tasty involving white truffle oil on another blog this morning, I think I’m just going to have to find me some this weekend.

Kate Apr 27, 2011 01:04 pm

this looks delishious! im not one for radishes but this makes me want to give it a try. I agree with what you say about things trying to be bigger and better! My own blog is just my random musings on baking and food and occasionally philosophy! I enjoy the simpleness of your blog and the wholesome food you present ! thank you for sharing!

Kate Apr 27, 2011 01:04 pm

this looks delishious! im not one for radishes but this makes me want to give it a try. I agree with what you say about things trying to be bigger and better! My own blog is just my random musings on baking and food and occasionally philosophy! I enjoy the simpleness of your blog and the wholesome food you present ! thank you for sharing!

Melissa Bihl Apr 27, 2011 07:04 pm

I love the ritual of preparing beautiful meals at home and I recently discovered I love beets too. Roasted beets with sautéed greens in garlic and olive oil. Mmmm. I love this blog: so artfully written and the photo is delicious. Thank you for sharing your philosophy with me.

Melissa Bihl Apr 27, 2011 07:04 pm

Ahhhhhh, one more thing: I love truffle oil. Ha ha. I’ve got a lot of love to give. Sprinkle truffle oil over stove popped popcorn. Heaven.

Allison Apr 28, 2011 12:04 pm

This salad looks heavenly. I’ve got a little jar of truffle oil that I’ve been using sparingly here and there, and this dressing looks totally worth it.

And in my opinion, simple is always better

Julia Apr 29, 2011 04:04 pm

Hi Tami, loved this salad from the very first look at your post. Tried it out myself and posted it in my food blog: (available in German only). Great recipe and incredibly good with roasted bread and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Thanks for sharing!

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Elle May 3, 2011 12:05 pm

That salad is a thing of beauty. Simple, and yet perfect. I’ve also been noticing this trend of trying to outdo the last person. But I’m confident in the fact that there are many more people that still want “normal” to feed to the family.

It’s good to be fun and unusual and new, but there will always be a place at the table for normal, at least in my opinion.

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