You can enjoy this Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with Cannellini Beans and Herbs as an entrée or side all year round. Make it with tender beets, new potatoes and carrots at the height of the summer harvest, or enjoy it all year round due to the great storage potential of root vegetables. Luscious cannellini beans add protein, and a medley of chopped fresh herbs provides bright notes of flavour and colour.
I love beets, especially when they’re roasted, and wanted to pair them with other root vegetables in a simple salad. Another longtime favourite of mine are lusciously tender cannellini beans. I buy them in small jars (360 mL) at a local market and always have some on hands for soups, salads or other dishes like Chicken, Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans. And of course, the fragrance and flavour of fresh herbs are always welcome in my kitchen. This Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with Cannellini Beans is a happy marriage of all these things.
Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with Cannellini Beans and Herbs
I’ve made this salad in fall, winter and summer, and I don’t see why I couldn’t make it in spring either, due to the year-round availability of root vegetables. But the best time of year to make it is in summer, not only because the vegetables are at their peak of freshness, but because I can step from the kitchen into my small herb garden and gather handfuls of sage, rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley and use them with abandon. (The eagle-eyed among you may notice there’s tarragon in the herb bundle pictured below … I decided not to use it as I decided the flavour wouldn’t work in this dish.)
While the jewel-tone red of the beets is beautiful, I didn’t want them to bleed all over the carrots and potatoes, so I tossed the vegetables separately in olive oil and roasted them in colourful regiments on a single tray. When I turn the veg halfway through cooking, there’s far less chance of colour mingling. This is purely an aesthetic thing … if you don’t mind a pink salad, by all means go for it and toss all those vegetables together.
When I’m making a bean salad, I make the vinaigrette more acidic than usual, as the beans tend to mellow out the dressing. I also let the beans and chopped herbs sit in the vinaigrette bath while the root vegetables are cooking, to give the flavours time to intermingle. When I check for seasoning before serving, I also assess if more tang is needed from a bit more vinegar.
Once the vegetables have been roasted to tenderness and light caramelization, I let them cool on the tray for 15 minutes or so before tossing them with the herb and bean mixture. This salad is lovely slightly warm or at room temperature, but I’ve also enjoyed it cold the next day.
Let’s Talk Olive Oil
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that it’s worth it to have good quality olive oil on hand. In case you’re interested, I buy mine from a reputable distributor (Jill’s Table in London, Ontario — this recommendation is unsponsored) in the size of bottle that I know I can use up within six months. And then I protect my investment by storing the oil in a cool, dark cupboard. For this salad, I recommend a good quality extra virgin olive oil for the vegetable roasting, and the best quality you can afford for the dressing. Don’t fret too much about this … a single good quality oil will do. The most important thing is to ensure that the oil is fresh … if it’s too old or has been improperly stored the oil may gone “off” and could ruin this salad and other dishes.
A Colourful Celebration of Summer
If it’s true that we eat with our eyes first, then this colourful Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with Cannellini Beans and Herbs is definitely a feast. I enjoyed it as my main dish with a glass of white wine outdoors on a hot and humid August evening … is there any better way to enjoy summer’s bounty?
Let’s Make Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with Cannellini Beans and Herbs
This is an all-season salad, but my favourite time to enjoy it is in the summer when I can step out to the garden and gather the herbs I need for it. Feel free to mix up the herbs according to your preferences and what you have on hand. And, if you don't have cannellini beans, you could substitute Great Northern beans or another bean of your choice.
Preheat the oven to 400 ° F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- 1 large new red potato, scrubbed & trimmed but unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large red beet, peeled & cut into cubes
- 2 medium carrots, peeled & cubed
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1.5 tbsp good olive oil, divided
- 1 to 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed
- several sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 5 or 6 leaves fresh sage, chopped
- good grinding fresh black pepper
- sprinkling kosher salt
- 1 360 mL jar cannellini beans
- small handful fresh basil, chopped
- small handful Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- sprinkling sea salt, for finishing (optional)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, best quality
- 1.5 to 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
Separately toss the cubed potatoes, carrots and beets with 1/2 tbsp good olive oil each, and spread on 1/3 of the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the vegetables and scatter the garlic and herbs around the tray.
Roast in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Turn the vegetables and roast for another 20 minutes, or until they're fork tender and starting to lightly brown. Let the roasted vegetables cool on the tray for about 15 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, mix 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar in the bottom of a large bowl, along with some freshly ground pepper.
Rinse and drain the cannellini beans, and allow as much water to come off as you can. Add them to the bowl with the vinaigrette along with the chopped basil and parsley. Stir well, and set aside until it's time to add the roasted vegetables, stirring once or twice more during that time.
Toss the roasted vegetables with the beans, herbs and vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinegar if you think it's necessary. Adjust the seasoning as well. If you'll be using sea salt to finish, only adjust the pepper at this stage and sprinkled on the finishing salt once the salad is plated.
Looking for More Interesting Salad Ideas?
Here are a few more salads that take advantage of summer’s bounty: Lentil and Feta Summer Salad, Black Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Grilled Peaches, and Potato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette.