For a more colorful dish, use a combination of red and golden beets.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In large baking dish, toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add ¼ cup water and the thyme sprigs, if using. Cover the dish tightly with foil and roast until the beets can be easily pierced with a paring knife, about 1 hour. Remove the dish from the oven and let the beets cool, covered. Once they’re cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub the skins off the beets, then cut them into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the rice with 1 ¾ cups water. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Keep warm.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the rice with the beets. Drizzle with the maple-Dijon dressing and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the pecans.