Is Beet Salad on the menu? I order it every time! This ruby stunner is my favorite combination: roasted beets, peppery arugula, crunchy apple, creamy cheese, and a punchy balsamic dressing. Every bite sings!
At restaurants, the beet salad gets my attention for two reasons.
- I adore roasted beets.
- I despise roasting them at home.
Or so I thought.
Fortunately, rounds of perfecting the Roasted Beet Salad with Honey Orange Ricotta in my cookbook led me to an easy method of roasting and peeling beets.
We’re using it in this recipe too!
Every Christmas Eve, my family puts me in charge of the salad.
I aim to create something beautiful, worthy of the occasion, and delicious enough to win over the salad skeptics at the table.
This balsamic beet salad is my pick!
It combines the best of all the beet salads I’ve ordered out (of which there are many) and favorite characteristics of salads of past holidays.
- Like Winter Salad, it’s a festive red and green.
- Like Apple Walnut Salad, it offers surprising complexity and crunch.
- Like Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad, it takes a veggie that many shy away from (I get that beets are polarizing) and makes it taste scrumptious.
The beets do take time to roast, but it happens hands-free while you accomplish other tasks.
You also can prep this simple beet salad well in advance. See “Meal Prep Tips” below for more.
How to Make Beet Salad
As a major fan of beets, I’ve often wondered what I can do with sliced beets. This salad is the answer I’ve been looking for!
Tang, crunch, sweetness, and bite. This red beet salad truly has it all!
To keep beets from staining your cutting board, lay a piece of parchment on top of it prior to slicing.
- Beets. Beets are an incredibly nutritious ingredient. They taste earthy with a hint of sweetness and are rich in vitamins, minerals, and folate.
- Arugula. Peppery and fresh-tasting, arugula is a scrumptious base for this salad because it can stand up the the hearty beets. Plus, it’s packed with calcium, potassium, and folate.
- Apple. Crisp, juicy, and sweet. Apples are a fantastic pairing with beets!
- Pistachios. Pistachios add a wonderful salty and crunchy element to the salad.
- Goat Cheese. For creamy, cheesy deliciousness that instantly elevates this salad. You can also make this a beet salad with feta or gorgonzola.
- Cranberries. A tart complement to the sweetness of the apple and beets. They also make this salad feel holiday-worthy.
- Beet Salad Dressing. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and honey create a dressing that’s both tangy and sweet, making it the ideal pairing for the ingredients in this salad. A pinch of garlic, salt, and pepper add the finishing touches.
THE EASIEST WAY TO PEEL BEETS
The fastest, easiest way to roast and peel beets is to roast the beets with the SKINS ON, then rub away the skins after they have baked.
- Place the beets in a roasting dish with a thin layer of water; cover and bake at 400 degrees F until the beets are tender. (Plan ahead! large beets can take an hour or longer to roast.)
- Once the beets have cooled and you can handle them safely, use a paper towel to rub away the skins. Every now and then you need to switch to a paring knife if the beets are stubborn, but it’s much, much faster overall.
- Bake the beets at 400 degrees F for 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool.
- Mix the balsamic dressing ingredients together.
- Remove the beet skins, then dice them into 3/4-inch pieces. Add the beets to a serving bowl, and pour half of the dressing over the top. Stir to coat.
- Toss the beets with the arugula. Mix in part of the apple, pistachios, cranberries, and goat cheese. Add more dressing to taste.
- Finish with the remaining apple, pistachios, cranberries, and cheese. DIG IN!
Warm or Cold?
Personally, I love to serve this salad when the beets are still slightly warm, but it also tastes fantastic both at room temperature and as a cold beet salad if you are prepping the beets ahead.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
Meal Prep Tip
Bake, peel, and dice the beets up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate them in an airtight storage container. Up to 2 days in advance, whisk the dressing ingredients together. Refrigerate the dressing in an airtight storage container. Assemble the salad as directed when you’re ready to serve.
What to Serve with Beet Salad
Beets pair well with a variety of meats, fish, and other vegetables. In addition to pairing well with other dishes, they also elevate any dish they’re added to (like with this Beet Risotto).
- Pork. This salad would pair nicely with Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
- Ham. Ham and beets are delicious together. Try this salad with Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup.
- Chicken. Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu would be tasty with beet salad.
- Salmon. Beet salad pairs well with salmon dishes like this Pan Seared Salmon.
- Veggies. Other root vegetables like Roasted Sweet Potatoes are a scrumptious pairing with beets.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Dish. This one is the ideal size for roasting the beets.
- Liquid Measuring Cup. Perfect for mixing the salad dressing.
- Small Whisk. Easier to handle and less likely to send dressing all over your counter.
This superb salad is un-BEET-able! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
What I meant to say is it is un-BEET-lievable! (Oops.)
Just make it. You’ll beet happy you did. (Mwah!)
Frequently Asked Questions
No apples on hand? No problem! You can swap the apple for a pear instead. Pears are also delicious with beets.
Yes, you can make this a vegan beet salad. Simply omit the goat cheese. You can also swap the goat cheese for a plant-based, vegan goat cheese, feta, or gorgonzola.
Beet Salad Video
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FOR THE BEET SALAD:
- 2 pounds medium beets tops and roots trimmed (about 6 beets)
- 5 ounces arugula
- 1 small apple diced (a sweet/crisp apple such as Honeycrisp, or tart such as Granny Smith)
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted shelled pistachios (I purchase them already roasted, salted, and shelled), divided
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries divided
- 4 ounces goat cheese, feta, or gorgonzola crumbled and divided
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the beets in a 9×13-inch baking dish or similar dish large enough to hold them comfortably in a single layer. Pour a thin layer of water into the bottom of the dish, cover with foil, and bake until the beets feel tender in the center when pierced with a small, sharp knife, 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or longer depending upon the size of your beets. Transfer the beets to a cutting board and let stand until cool enough to handle. If you are concerned about staining your cutting board, lay a sheet of parchment paper over it first.
- While the beets cook, prepare the balsamic dressing: in a medium mixing bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients—olive oil, balsamic, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Once the beets are cool enough to handle but are still warm, with a paper towel, rub away the beet skins. If they are stubborn and stick, peel them with a small, sharp knife. Dice each beet into 3/4-inch pieces (or cut into wedges if you prefer), then place in a large serving bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the warm beets, then stir to coat (the beets absorb dressing better when they are warm).
- Add the arugula to the bowl with the beets. Toss to combine. Top with about two-thirds each of the apple, pistachios, cranberries, and goat cheese. Toss once more, adding more of the remaining dressing as desired. The arugula should be lightly moist but not drowning.
- Sprinkle the remaining pistachios, cranberries, and goat cheese over the top. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Bake, peel, and dice the beets up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate them in an airtight storage container. Up to 2 days in advance, whisk the dressing ingredients together. Refrigerate the dressing in an airtight storage container. Assemble the salad as directed when you’re ready to serve.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
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