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Spiced Chicken with Roasted Beet Salad and Apple Cider Vinaigrette

By Tom Liddy | October 12, 2012 12:27pm

NEW YORK CITY — Beets — golden, red and in many other colors of the rainbow — are jam-packed with nutrients and add a sweet and earthy dimension to an array of fall dishes. These remarkable roots are a good source of fiber, and vitamin C, and folate — a B vitamin that helps generate new cells, according to the National Institutes of Health. Red beets also contain betalains, powerful antioxidants, according to a study. While they can be eaten raw, roast them to bring out their natural sweetness.

Beets of any color can be used in this salad, but I like the contrast of golden and red beets. But make sure to store them in separate bowls so that the deep scarlet hue of the red beets doesn’t discolor the rest of the dish.

Pair these delicious veggies with an earthy, spicy, boneless chicken breast, sprinkled with cardamom, coriander and cinnamon and a hint of cayenne for heat. Add either watercress, or the greens from the beets, along with red onions, walnuts tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette round off this delicious and nutrient-packed salad. Add a crumble of goat cheese and dig in.


2 Boneless chicken breasts, halved

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Coriander

1 Tsp Cardamom

1/2 Tsp Cayenne pepper

Beets (4 golden and 4 red is plenty)

Watercress (a couple of handfulls)

1/2 Medium red onion (thinly sliced)

Walnuts (a couple of ounces, roasted)

Goat cheese

Dijon mustard

Apple cider vinegar (or champagne vinegar)

Small shallot

Fresh thyme

1 Pear

Walnut or other nut oil

Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash beets, lay them out on a baking sheet and place in oven.
  3. Roast until a sharp knife passes through easily, about 1 hour and 15 minutes (Roasting the beets can be done ahead of time) and allow to cool until they are easy to handle. Beets can also be roasted for less time, but they'll be crunchier.
  4. Peel the beets and slice them down the middle. Then chop them into half-moons, working with the golden beets first. Store the golden and red beets in separate bowls.
  5. Preheat large stainless steel or cast iron oven-safe pan on the stove on medium to medium-high heat.
  6. Meanwhile, spilt chicken breasts down the middle if they are whole and coat with the spices as well as salt and pepper.
  7. When pan is hot, add a tablespoon of a neutral, high-heat oil like grapeseed, sunflower and swirl around pan.
  8. Sear chicken on both sides (about five minutes each so that a crust forms on each side).
  9. Take the pan and transfer it to the oven, roasting about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. (The chicken should be finished when it's firm to the touch, but the only way to confirm doneness is with a meat thermometer, which really comes in handy.
  10. While the chicken is roasting, whip up the vinaigrette.
  11. Add two tablespoons of mustard to the bowl along with a chopped small shallot, the leaves from two sprigs of fresh thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and crush the shallot with a spoon.  The mixture should still be pretty thick.
  13. Then whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of walnut oil. Again, the dressing should be thick.
  14. Add a third of the dressing to each of the bowls containing the beets and toss to coat.
  15. Then add the last third to a bowl with the watercress and onions.
  16. Place a few of the golden and red beets on the plate. Place on top of that the watercress mixture and top with walnuts and goat cheese.
  17. Dig in.