In my last post, I confessed to my love of cheese and my nearly non-stop indulgence in it while traveling through Ireland in May. On quite a few occasions, I found cheese, especially goat’s cheese, paired with beets in a sweet-tangy combination that is — no pun intended — unbeatable! At Reg’s in Waterford, a lively restaurant / pub adjacent to historic Reginald’s Tower, the waitress recommended a goat’s cheese and beet salad topped with, no less, fried parsnips crisps; and at Castlemartyr Resort in East Cork, I loved a light goat’s cheese mousse topped with beets served on a crisp crostini. Both recipes make easy and impressive starters. You’ll find recipes like this in my newest cookbook Favorite Flavors of Ireland. To order a signed copy, visit


Serves 2       

For the beets

2 to 3 medium beets

Olive oil for roasting

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the salad

1 large parsnip, peeled

Canola oil for frying

Mixed greens with arugula

4 ounces goat’s cheese, crumbled

Oil and vinegar for drizzling

Candied pecans or walnuts for serving

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

2. Remove beets from oven, and when cool enough to handle, rub skin away with a piece of paper towel or foil. (To prevent staining your hands, use rubber gloves). Slice beets and then cut into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with olive oil.

3. Make salad. With a vegetable peeler, peel off wide, long strips from parsnip. In a large skillet over high heat, heat oil. Working in batches, gently lower strips into oil and fry for 1 to 2  minutes, or until browned and crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel-lined plate.

4. Arrange salad on plates, toss with cheese, and top with parsnip crisps and candied nuts, if using. Drizzle with oil and vinegar or your favorite vinaigrette.


Serves 2

For the mousse

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

2 tablespoons milk

4 ounces soft goat’s 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’s cheese. Fold into whipped cream, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

2. Prepare beets as in previous recipe.

3. To serve, scoop out 1 tablespoon of mousse, and with another tablespoon, smooth and form it into an egg shape quenelle (if you can’t form perfect egg-shaped quenelles, simply spoon the mousse onto crostini). Top each crostini with a quenelle, a slice of beet, and garnish with tarragon. Sprinkle with pepper. 

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Tags: Cheese, Chefs, Cooking, Cuisine, Recipes, Salads, Vegetables, desserts

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Comment by That's Just How It Was on August 30, 2016 at 11:50am

My youngest son is a very good cook,,, and he has made ; Beetroot ; red union and Feta cheese salad , topped with balsamic vinigar and extra virgin Olive  oil... I have become addicted to it 


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