Honey and orange zest flavor ricotta cheese dolloped on sweet roasted beets in an easy, flavorful dressing that makes a healthy side dish beet salad that tastes great warm or at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut the greens from the tops of the beets, saving for another use, then trim the bottom of the stems, and discard. Scrub the beets under cold water, pat dry with a paper towel, and place in a bowl. Toss with the olive oil and generous amount of salt and pepper.
Place the beets in a baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour for large beets, or about 45 min for medium. The beets will be done when you can easily slide a sharp knife into their tender centers. Set aside to cool enough to handle.
To peel, trim the ends and use a paper towel in each hand to rub off the skins. If you don't want your hands to get red, wear plastic gloves.
Slice the beets into wedges, thick rounds, or half moons. If using two colors of beets, place the cut beets in separate mixing bowls. If using the same color, add to the same mixing bowl.
To make the honey ricotta mixture, in a small mixing bowl stir together the ricotta, 1 tablespoon of the orange zest, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside.
Make the dressing in a small mixing bowl. Whisk together the orange juice, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, freshly ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the mint with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle over the beets and toss, dividing the dressing if using two different colors beets.
Plate the dressed beets on a platter or in a serving dish. Top with dollops of the honey ricotta and the remaining mint and orange zest. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
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