To make the dressing, in a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper).
To the bowl with the dressing, add the salad greens and toss to combine. Top with beets, goat cheese, and almonds and serve. Dressed salad greens may also be divided among individual plates before adding beets, goat cheese, and almonds.
Beets: Any kind of beet (red, golden, or candy cane-striped beets) work well in this recipe. I like golden beets because they don't stain surfaces the way red beets do. Use store-bought roasted beets (usually sold in the produce section) or roast them yourself. To roast beets yourself:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove green tops and scrub 1 pound beets well under cold water. Dry well and lightly oil beets with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place in small baking dish (a loaf pan works well) and cover with parchment paper. Bake until tender when pierced with a skewer, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Remove from oven, remove parchment paper, and immediately cover baking dish with plastic wrap. Allow beets to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, to loosen skins. Rub off skins with paper towels. Slice or cut into wedges, cubes, or matchsticks.
Almonds: Roasting almonds is optional but recommended. You can also buy roasted almonds to save time. To roast almonds on the stove, in a medium skillet over medium heat, heat almonds until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Yield: This recipe makes 4 servings.
Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make ahead: The lemon vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator. The beets can be roasted peeled, and cut up to 3 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator.
More mix-ins: Get creative with sliced oranges, minced shallots, a different nut (roasted walnuts or hazelnuts would be delicious), a new cheese (try Gorgonzola or Parmesan), or fresh herbs (tarragon, dill, or chives). Substitute the mixed field greens for a blend of endive, spinach, and leftover beet greens (rinsed and chopped).
Make the vinaigrette your own: Substitute balsamic vinegar for the lemon juice. Or, stir in honey to taste for a sweeter dressing.