Beets are incredible cooked on the grill, and even better topped with rosé infused cranberries and smoked bacon. This will be your favorite salad all summer long!
We’ve become super beet fans around here, especially when it comes to grilled beet salads. I’m all about the veggies in my house, but there are just a few my family will all unanimously be on board for. Sean’s the worst (shhhh, don’t tell him I told you!). But when it comes to beets, he loves them. And while the boys aren’t too keen on red beets (too earthy for them I think), they love golden ones. So much so that Sean planted a HUGE row of them in our garden for us to enjoy this summer. Woot woot!
We’ve been experimenting with different ways to cook them ever since.
And last month, at an event we catered for Bells Up Winery, we made this exact dish as one of the courses in the 5-course winemaker dinner. It was a huge success. We designed it to pair with their Rosé — a dry and fruity wine with lots of red berry characteristics and some citrus. We decided to play with the flavors by infusing some dried cranberries in the wine, then adding some smoked bacon (at first because the winemaker requested bacon at the dinner, but we realized it was an INCREDIBLE addition to the salad). And to bring the flavors together we tossed the salad in a citrus dressing before placing the beets back on the grill to char.
So we decided to share it here for all the fans, and future fans of this incredible salad.
But first, let’s make sure you infuse those cranberries, since they will take the longest.
How to make Rosé Infused Cranberries
Place the dried cranberries in a small bowl and pour rosé over them until submerged. If the bowl is small enough you should only need about 1/4 cup of rosé. Pour a glass for yourself to sip on while these infuse.
Let them infuse for a minimum of 2 hours, and up to 24 hours. Best to do the day before.
And then it all begins with roasting your beets on the grill.
How to Roast Beets on a Grill or Smoker
Just like you would roast beets in the oven, you can cook them the same way in your grill. Prep your grill for 400-425 degrees F setting up a direct/indirect coals. Place your beets on a sheet pan and place them on the indirect side of the grill (on direct they can burn on the bottom).
Do I need to peel the beets before I roast them?
Nope! Just trim any beet tops (the greens), clean them and place them directly on the sheet pan and into the grill they go.
They’ll take roughly 45 mins to roast in the grill. You want to cook them until they’re soft, but not mush! One way I like to test is to use a digital thermometer probe and see how easily it glides into the beets. It should go in easy, but not as easy as butter or mashed potatoes. Once they’re soft, remove them from the grill and let cool enough to handle.
How to cook bacon in the grill
Easy peasy. Just place your bacon directly on the grill until crispy. My preference is to smoke the bacon at a low heat, like 225 or 250, until crispy. But if you don’t have that ability to easily lower and increase temps, then just cook until crispy. The length of time will depend on the temperature of your grill and the thickness of your bacon.
Step 2: How to Grill the Beets to Finish them off
Increase the temperature of your grill. Get your grill hot and prepare for direct heat cooking.
Now that your beets are softened, and cool enough to handle, now is the time to peel them. Once they’re peeled toss them in your citrus dressing. Let them marinate in the dressing for at least 10-20 mins, soaking in that incredible flavor. Next, place the beets on the hot grill and let them sear about 2 minutes per side, rotating them just long enough to get that char on each side.
PREP TIP: Want to do this the day before? Then roast the beets first and peel them the prior day. Then let them marinade in the dressing overnight. Then you can grill them the next day.
Now remove them from the grill and build your salad.
Grilled Beet Salad with Rosé Infused Cranberries and Smoked Beets
Next up just cut your beets into bite sized pieces. Depending on the size you can quarter them or cut into sixths. Top them with your rosé infused cranberries and chopped smoked bacon, then drizzle with the remaining citrus dressing and some fresh shaved parmesan cheese. Boom.
Is this Salad Good for Backyard Summer Cookouts or Parties?
Absolutely. My recommendation would be to roast the beets (either in the oven or on your grill) at home, prior to leaving the house. Then let them cool, and place them in the dressing and transfer them and the rest of the ingredients to the party. Then at the party add the beets to the grill for the final step of grilling them to get that char. Then finish the salad from there.
Your friends will be crazy impressed, especially when you tell them the cranberries have rosé wine in them! True story.
Can This Beet Salad be Vegetarian?
Absolutely. If you’re not into the amazingness that is bacon, then by golly feel free to leave the bacon out! But seriously, why would you? 😉 Replace bacon with grilled porcini mushrooms!
Grilled Beet Salad with Rosé Infused Cranberries and Smoked Bacon
For the Rosé Infused Cranberries
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup rosé wine (I recommend a dry rosé)
To Grill the Beets & Bacon
- 6 medium-large golden beets (or 8 smaller ones)
- 3 slices thick cut bacon
For The Citrus Dressing
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon, juiced (approx 1/2 a lemon)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (only 3 turns of the grinder)
Additional Ingredients for the Salad
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, thin shavings
To make the Rosé Infused Cranberries
- Place the dried cranberries in a small bowl and pour rosé over them until submerged. If the bowl is small enough you should only need about 1/4 cup of rosé. Pour a glass for yourself to sip on while these infuse.
- Let them infuse for a minimum of 2 hours, and up to 24 hours. Best to do the day before.
To Smoke the Bacon
- Best to smoke at 250 degrees (F) using fruit wood, until crispy (about 2 hours). Alternatively you can grill them next to the beets (but they will cook much quicker at a high temperature).
To Roast and Grill the Beets
- Place beets on a baking sheet and place on the grill on a high heat (ideally 425 degrees), until soft. You can test softness using a digital thermometer, by placing the probe into the flesh of the beet to see if it is soft (but not as soft as butter or mashed potatoes). Remove and let cool enough to handle, then remove the skins.
- Assemble your dressing. Place all dressing ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Toss the peeled beets in the dressing, and let them marinate for at least 20 minutes or consider doing this the day before serving.
- Prep grill for high, direct, heat.
- Remove the beets from the marinade (but save the rest of the liquid use as a dressing later). Place on the grill, on direct heat, to get a nice char on each side (approx 2 mins per side).
- Remove from grill, and slice into bite sized cubes.
For the Salad
- Place the beets in a serving dish, top with the rosé infused cranberries, chopped bacon, shaved parmesan cheese, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!
What Wine to Pair with Grilled Beet Salad?
Rosé of course! That’s why we created this dish.
In all honestly though, it really does pair incredibly well. The cranberries are sweet and concentrated, but balanced by the dry acidic wine, and the bacon and cheese add both texture and savoriness. I really can’t think of a better match. We recommend a dry fruity rosé for this. Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé’s are the intense match, but I think a Spanish Rosado or Italian, or a California Rosé made from Pinot Noir grapes will work just as good!
What about you?
Have you grilled beets before? Love em? Hate em? Do tell!
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