I love when I get new recipes from Chef’s around the country. Whether it’s one of my “recipe souvenirs” or just something seasonal such as this great fall salad recipe. This one comes from Travaasa in Austin, Texas, where they really infuse local culture in their resort activities. They have things like harmonica serenading lessons, Texas two-step dancing classes and a mechanical bull riding fitness class. Yes, I said mechanical bull riding fitness classes (I need to check those out!). Sounds a little like the movie City Slickers, eh?
Now, Texans are known for doing everything BIG. So it comes as no surprise that this seemingly simple recipe was a little more to tackle then I planned. Let me just say that I now fully understand the reason beet juice is used for food coloring.
After prepping these beets I had hot pink fingers for a day. Learn from my mistake … use a towel or gloves when you’re slicing them. While the ingredients are delicious and simple, the prep work does take some time. But this autumn inspired sweet potato and goat cheese salad is so worth it!
Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Salad
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 3 large beets
- 1 bunch cilantro
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 lemon (for juice and zest)
- 1 cup oil (a blend of canola and olive is ideal)
- 5 oz goat cheese
- Peel sweet potatoes and beets with a vegetable peeler, then slice into 1/4 inch thin disks.
- Coat potatoes and beets with 2 Tbsp olive oil, spread out on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Bake potatoes and beets until tender. Usually this takes about 40 minutes to an hour, but since the width of beets and sweet potatoes can vary, check on them every 20 minutes or so. They are done when you can pierce easily with a fork.
- Slice a 5 oz log of goat cheese into eight pieces.
- Blend 1 bunch of cilantro, ½ cup of sunflower seeds, remaining olive oil and the juice plus zest of one lemon to make cilantro oil.
- Place one slice of sweet potato, one slice of beet root, and one slice of goat cheese singled out onto a salad plate. You can also stack them like the photo above.
- Garnish with lemon zest, and serve with cilantro oil.