This salad is a great way to eat beets and use the beet greens. Many people throw away beet greens, but it’s a real waste. They are full of vitamins and minerals, and... they can be cooked just like any other leafy green. Here, the earthy taste of the greens offsets the concentrated sweetness of the beets, while the nuts add protein and crunch.
Top and tail the beets, and cut them in half lengthwise. If the beets are large, you may want to quarter them. Toss the beets in 2 teaspoons of olive oil then wrap them in oil and put them on a cookie sheet. Bake them until they are tender, about 40 minutes depending on their size.
Meanwhile, wash the beet greens and strip the leaves from the stems. Roughly shred the leaves and toss with the spinach. Set aside.
In a large salad bowl, whisk the water, balsamic vinegar, and a generous pinch of sea salt together. Stir in the almonds.
Once the beets are cooked, remove the foil and let them cool slightly. Stab the cut side of each piece with a fork and remove the peel, the skin should slip off easily. Cut the beets into 1-inch dice. While they are still warm, pour them in the bowl with the vinaigrette and ½ the cilantro if using. Pile the spinach and beet greens on top of the beets.
Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, pour immediately all over the greens. Quickly toss together — the hot oil will wilt the tender greens. Serve immediately.