Goat Cheese and Beets, A Winning Pair

Goat cheese blaa.

Recipes | By Margaret M. Johnson

It seems that all the world has discovered the winning mix of goat cheese and beets. The combination of flavors — earthy and sweet beets, intense and tangy goat cheese — has caught on just about everywhere and turns up in salads, soups, sandwiches and on little appetizer toasts. Use multicolored beets for a stunning presentation.


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Serves 2

There’s really no substitute for an authentic blaa, the famous County Waterford soft bread roll, but the filling in this sandwich is equally delicious on a crispy roll or on ciabatta bread. I first tasted the sandwich at Hatch & Sons kitchen in Dublin, where it was spread with rapeseed mayonnaise, which features on many of the sandwiches there. It’s made with a ratio of three parts rapeseed oil to seven parts mayonnaise, but you can use mayonnaise alone if you can’t find rapeseed oil. Be sure to mix enough arugula into the mixed greens for additional flavor.

For the beets

2 to 3 medium multicolored beets, washed and trimmed

Olive oil, for roasting

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

For the sandwich

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Ground black pepper

2 white rolls, halved

2 tablespoons rapeseed mayo

4 ounces soft goat’s cheese, crumbled

Mixed greens with arugula

  1. Roast beets. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place beets on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap beets completely. Rub with olive oil; season with sea salt and pepper. Wrap beets to form a pouch. Roast for 55 to 60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with tip of a knife. (Roasting times will vary depending on size of the beets).

  2. Roast seeds. Spread seeds out on baking sheet; toast during last 5 minutes of roasting beets.

  3. Remove the seeds and beets from oven. When cool enough to handle, rub skin away from beets with a piece of paper towel or foil. (To prevent staining your hands, use rubber gloves). Slice beets; then cut into 1/2-inch cubes. In a small bowl, toss beets with olive or rapeseed oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

  4. Spread one side of each roll with mayonnaise; sprinkle with seeds. Top with chopped beets, goat cheese, and mixed greens. Cover with top slice of bread; serve immediately.



This salad has so many layers of flavor! Enough said.

For the beets

4 to 5 medium red, golden, and candy strip beets, washed and trimmed

1 bunch fresh thyme

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup balsamic vinegar

For the sherry vinaigrette

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1/3 cup sherry vinegar

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons walnut oil


Ground black pepper

For the pistachios

1 cup raw pistachios

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

For the salad

8 ounces baby arugula, preferably organic

4 slices goat cheese

  1. Make beets. Preheat oven to 375°F. Put beets, thyme, oil and vinegar in a baking dish large enough to hold beets in a single layer; cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until pierced easily with a knife. Uncover and let cool in cooking liquid; refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or until cold.

  2. Remove beets from liquid, and with gloves to protect hands from discoloring, peel beets. Cut in half or quarters (depending on size); set aside.

  3. Make vinaigrette. Combine mustard, shallot, garlic, sherry and vinegar in a blender; process until blended. With motor running, slowly stream in oils, one at a time, until vinaigrette is smooth; season with salt and pepper.

  4. Make pistachios. Preheat oven to 375° F. Put pistachios on a baking sheet and toast for 8 to 10 minutes. In a small sauté pan over high heat, melt butter until lightly browned; transfer to a small bowl. Add nuts, salt and sugar; toss to coat. Let cool.

  5. To serve, arrange beets on four plates; drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Toss arugula with additional vinaigrette and arrange on top of beets. Garnish with a slice of goat cheese; sprinkle with pistachios.



I enjoyed this tasty starter a few years ago at Castlemartyr Resort Hotel in East Cork. If you can, form the mousse into egg-shaped quenelles the way the chef presented it there; if not, simply spoon the mousse onto the crostini.

For the mousse

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

2 tablespoons milk

4 ounces soft goat cheese

Sliced beets, for serving

Crostini, for serving

Fresh tarragon, for garnish

Ground black pepper, for topping

  1. Make mousse. In a medium bowl, whip cream to soft peaks. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and goat cheese; fold into whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

  2. Roast beets as in one of the previous recipes.

  3. To serve, scoop out 1 tablespoon of mousse, and with another tablespoon, smooth and form it into an egg shape. Top each crostini with a quenelle, a slice of beet, and garnish with tarragon. Sprinkle with pepper.



Several Irish cheesemakers produce goat cheese — St. Tola, Corleggy, and Blue Bell Falls, to name a few — shaped into creamy logs, button-like crottins, and firm, hard rind varieties. Lightly fried goat cheese and mixed greens appear in many pub salads, especially with sweet roasted beets and spicy rocket (arugula). Roast the beets as in the previous recipes. Serve this with salad with wholegrain mustard vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or white Balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Ground black pepper

For the cheese

1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs

1 cup walnuts, ground

2 eggs yolks

2 tablespoons water

One 11-ounce log goat cheese, cut into 8 rounds

Canola oil for frying

For the salad

6 ounces rocket (arugula)

2 ounces mixed salad greens

Roasted beets (sliced or cubed)

2/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted

  1. Make vinaigrette. In a small bowl or lidded jar, whisk or blend mustards, honey, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth.

  2. Make cheese. In a shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs and ground nuts. In another shallow bowl, whisk together egg yolks and water. Dip each cheese round into yolks mixture, then dredge in breadcrumbs mixture, gently pressing to evenly coat. Place rounds on a baking sheet; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Working in batches, cook cheese for about 1 minute on each side, or until crisp and golden. With a slotted spoon, remove cheese to a paper towel-line plate to drain.

  4. To serve, divide mixed greens among four salad plates; arrange beets over greens. Top with two cheese rounds. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with walnuts.

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page now includes “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, including how to order her new cookbook “Teatime in Ireland,” visit www.irishcook.com