These pomegranate roasted beets with goat cheese are a brilliantly hued side dish that make the most of earthy beets, tangy pomegranate, and creamy goat cheese. Plated on a bed of wilted beet greens, they make a gorgeous complement to any meal or can be served as a warm winter salad.
Adapted from Christine Sahadi Whelan | Flavors of the Sun | Chronicle Books, 2021
I always prefer to serve beets in their skins, as they contain lots of flavor and nutrients as well, but if you do the same, make sure to choose small, tender beets. The skins of older, bigger beets are too tough.
This looks best made with a mix of yellow, red, and Chioggia beets. Pomegranate molasses brings out the natural sweetness of beets while tempering the earthy flavor that some people don’t love.—Christine Sahadi Whelan
Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese FAQs
Do I have to peel roasted beets?
If you’re using fully mature beets (or even ones that aren’t tender baby beets), you may want to peel them before roasting or rub the skins off after they are cooked as the skin may be tough.
Can I use anything instead of beet greens?
A lot of people eschew beet greens, not realizing that they’re actually really, really good and very nutritious. They are like kale but sweeter, more tender, and a lot less work. However, grocery stores often remove the beet greens because customers don’t want them. You can substitute kale, Swiss chard, or mature spinach if you can’t get them.
What can I substitute for pomegranate molasses?
Pomegranate molasses can be hard to find, but it’s worth searching out. You can make your own by cooking down pure, unsweetened pomegranate juice until it reaches a thick, syrupy consistency.
Sahadi Whelan uses pure pomegranate molasses but give yours a taste and add sugar or lemon juice to your preference. You can also reduce cranberry juice if you can’t get pomegranate juice. Failing that, a balsamic reduction is another good swap.
Pomegranate Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese
For the pomegranate vinaigrette
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
For the beets
- 3 bunches (2 1/2 lbs total) of small young beets with greens (about 12 beets)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- 4 ounces firm fresh goat cheese
- 4 or 5 fresh chives chopped
Make the pomegranate vinaigrette
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, pomegranate molasses, salt, and black and Aleppo pepper.
Make the beets
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Separate the beets from the greens and wash both well, scrubbing the beets with a brush. Place the whole beets on sheets of heavy-duty foil (if using a mix of varieties, use a separate sheet for each color). Drizzle each pile of beets with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the thyme. Fold the foil up and over them to seal tightly.
- Put the packets on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the tip of a knife pierces a beet easily, 60 to 75 minutes. Let the beets cool in their packets.
- While the beets are roasting, cut the beet greens and about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of the stems crosswise into thin strips.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2-inch (12 mm) water to a boil and add the greens. Cook until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes, turning with tongs to ensure they cook evenly. Drain the greens and arrange them on a large serving platter.
- Once the beets are cool enough to handle, cut off the pointed tips and stem ends, and cut the beets into wedges, leaving the skins on. Scatter them over the beet greens.
- Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and crumble the goat cheese over everything. Drizzle with enough pomegranate vinaigrette to coat and garnish with the chives.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
The classic pairing of beets and goat cheese gets amped up in this recipe, thanks to the addition of some of my favorite Middle Eastern flavors: pomegranate molasses and Aleppo pepper.
This recipe for pomegranate roasted beets with goat cheese was not only simple to make but healthy and beautiful on a serving platter. I always try to buy beets with their greens still attached, so I loved that this recipe used those greens as the base of the dish. I also liked that you didn’t need to worry about peeling the beets once they were cooked, no red-stained hands here!
This is a truly exceptional roasted beet recipe. Not only did it somehow manage to sway even the most staunch anti-beet members of my household, it somehow only managed to get BETTER when reheated (20 minutes at 350°F). It’s rich, and earthy, and creamy and tart and sweet and somehow one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while.
I used a mix of red and golden beets, but with the greens, the pomegranate seeds, and the dressing all are darker and/or red, I’d recommend going with all golden or striped for the color contrasts. If you don’t have a pomegranate molasses of choice, I highly recommend Cortas which I find is the sharpest and tartest, and perfect for this dish.
These pomegranate roasted beets with goat cheese make a colorful and delicious salad with a beautiful presentation. The earthiness of the beets is lifted up by the tang of pomegranate molasses and I love the addition of goat cheese and pomegranate seeds.
I’ve never had unpeeled beets before and was intrigued but the skin was too tough and I ended up having to peel them after I cut them into wedges. I was not able to find true baby beets so I’m guessing that is why the skin was too thick and didn’t have a pleasant mouthfeel or taste.
In any event, they were easy enough to peel and the result was a huge improvement. I sprinkled a bit of Maldon sea salt onto the finished salad.
Originally published December 5, 2021
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This dish of pomegranate roasted beets with goat cheese had all the flavors of lingering summer and was a gateway to fall. The tender, earthy beets are perfectly dressed with balanced sweet and sour pomegranate vinaigrette.
I wasn’t able to find the pomegranate molasses at my local store, but I ordered it online for next-day delivery. I was prepared to craft my own with a mixture of molasses and pomegranate juice, I think that would’ve sufficed, but I’m glad to have found the real thing.
The dressing is flawless and is an incredibly robust recipe on its own. After dressing the salad to my liking, I had about 1/4 cup of dressing left, I’m not mad about it. Each bite of this dish brought a tender beet bite, a bright hint of dressing, the pop of a tart pomegranate aril, and finished with creamy, rich goat cheese. It’s hearty enough to stand on its own, but a perfect accompaniment to any fall feast.