There Is A Season: Beet-apple salad simpicity

  • Beet and apple salad is sweet and tart, while the blue cheese adds a rich creaminess. MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 9/19/2020 12:44:24 PM

Although my girls would argue that fruit is definitely not dessert (with their father’s support, mind you) I don’t even wait for the end of the meal to eat my fruit. 

In the summer, I love slipping nectarines or plums into a salad of thinly sliced fennel; cherries are a salad when tossed with cilantro, walnuts and charred hot pepper. And in the fall, I lean on this combination of roasted beets, apples from a local orchard, and blue cheese. Sometimes I leave out the blue cheese and add toasted walnuts. Sometimes I add both. I tie it all together with a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and dig in. It’s that simple.

Roasting beets, as I have mentioned in the past, is easy as can be and very rewarding. Last week I filled a roasting pan with water, placed my beets inside and covered with tin foil and put into a 400F oven. They cooked as I sat with my 5 year old through her kindergarten Zoom. These beets were on the smaller side, so they only took about an hour to roast. When they’d cooled, I placed them in a bowl in the fridge. The skin normally just slides right off — run it under cold water if you find you need to give it an extra nudge.

I aim for a tarter apple to balance out the earthy tones of the beet. If you’re buying one from the market, reach for a Granny Smith. I’m not picky when it comes to brands of blue cheese for cooking. Honestly, I cruise the cheese section of the grocery store for the “Manager’s Special.” 

As for the walnuts, I toast them in a toaster oven. If you don’t have a toaster oven, do it in a pan over low heat for about five minutes. I store my walnuts — in fact, all my nuts — in the freezer to extend their life.

I like the beet and apple ratio to run 1-to-1. In this salad, I used three smaller beets, which came out to half a pound, and 1 apple.

Beet, apple and blue cheese salad

1 cup roasted beets, peeled and cubed

1 cup apple, cored and cubed

2 Tablespoons of crumbled cheese

2 Tablespoons walnuts, chopped (optional)

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar


Mix the cubed beets and apples together in a large mixing bowl. Crumble about two tablespoons of blue cheese into the salad and gently mix. Add the walnuts, if using. Add the extra virgin olive oil by placing your finger over the spout before drizzling. Repeat with the vinegar. It should be no more than one tablespoon of each. Gently mix together. Serve immediately.

Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She's been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. She was furloughed from Smith for the summer and is using the time to work on her first cookbook. Send questions or comments to 

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