Beet Salad: Cozy, hearty, vibrant flavors make this a fall favorite, and the BEST EVER beet salad recipe. You get sweet, earthy roasted beets paired with crunchy toasted pecans, creamy goat cheese, and crisp, tart, Granny Smith apples, creating a medley of textures and tastes make this a go to salad. And the sweet and tangy flavors of the simple homemade balsamic dressing only elevate it further!
When it comes to fall flavors, this salad has it all. Here is why you should make it:
- Complete meal: It is hearty enough to be a complete meal, or can accompany one. You can even toss in some roasted chicken to make it one with extra protein if you’d like.
- Simple: It is simple flavors, and easy dressing, and when combined it becomes something special.
- Seasonal: You get the tart apples, the earthy beets, the delightful greens, the pecans etc. to make a seasonally appropriate and delicious salad.
- Easy to Make: Roasting Beets is not that hard, especially with this simple method for peeling them, so it is far easier to make than you’d think.
What You Need to Make This Beet Salad Recipe
Roasted beet salad is one of life’s simple pleasures. With just 6 main ingredients, this beet salad recipe is both simple and delicious:
- Roasted Beets – Roasting beets gives them an earthy, sweet, and subtly nutty flavor. Roasting brings out the natural sugars in the beets and caramelizes them, intensifying their sweetness.
- Fresh Greens – The best option for this is a mix between baby arugula and spring mix. It helps to create the beet salad’s fresh base, and the peppery arugula adds so much to this salad.
- Soft Goat Cheese – Beet salad and goat cheese tend to go hand in hand. The sweetness of the roasted beets pairs well with the distinct flavor and creamy texture of goat cheese.
- Toasted Pecans – This makes a great addition for extra earthiness, richness, and crunch.
- Granny Smith Apple – Fruit is always a good addition, and I particularly love the granny smith apple because it adds both crunch and a sweet-tart flavor.
- Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette – You can shortcut and use a bottled balsamic vinaigrette, but it is so much better to make it homemade. This particular dressing offers a sweet and tangy flavor that compliments all of the other flavors of the beet salad recipe perfectly.
- Flaky Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper – This is the garnish that ties it all together. Flake salt adds the perfect crunch and ties everything together for this recipe.
How to Make Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
Making this roasted beet salad with goat cheese is soooo simple, and it just tastes so good. Here’s how:
Step One: Roast Beets for Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a medium-rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Clean beets and dry thoroughly, then wrap each beet tightly in a sheet of foil and arrange on the lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the largest beet is easily pierced with a fork.
Remove beets from oven and unwrap beets immediately. Let the beets cool to room temperature then using gloves, peel the skins from the beets by rubbing them, the skins will come right off. And the gloves will protect your hands from staining.
Then prep the beets for the beet salad. Cut off the beet root ends, and then slice roasted beets into halves and then thin wedges.
Step Two: Toast the Pecans
Toasting pecans is pretty simple, but you don’t want to mess it up. When toasted it brings out the earthy natural sweetness and intensifies the nuttiness. It enhances both flavor and texture. So here is how:
- Preheat the Skillet:
- Start with a dry skillet, and heat it for a few minutes over a medium heat.
- Add the Pecans:
- Once preheated, add the pecans in a single layer. Do NOT overcrowd the skillet.
- Stir and Monitor:
- Using a wooden spatula or spoon to stir the pecans to help them toast evenly. Monitor them so they do not burn.
- Toast Until Fragrant:
- Continue to stir and monitor, toasting them for 4-6 minutes, when you start to smell a nutty scent, and see the color turning slightly darker, they are done. But be careful, as pecans can burn quite quickly. Do not walk away from the stove.
- Check the Pecans:
- Make sure they are toasted to your liking by letting it cool, then tasting it to see if it is at your desired level of crunchiness and flavor.
- Remove from Heat:
- When toasted to your liking, remove from heat. And remove pecans from the skillet to prevent residual heat in the pan from continuing to cook them.
- Let the pecans cool on a plate or cooling rack, and once cool, they are ready to be added to the beet salad.
- If you toast more than you need for the beet salad, or want to toast them ahead of time to use later in the salad, then sore them in an airtight container once they are completely cooled.
Step Three: Prep the Other Ingredients
Crumble your goat cheese, slice your apples, and wash and dry your greens, so you are ready to assemble your salad.
I recommend a combo of baby arugula and spring mix.
Step Four: Mix Up Dressing
This part is the easiest part, simply place all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid, and shake vigorously until mixed.
If you are going to serve the salad later, shake right before serving to make sure it is all mixed together.
Step Five: Assemble Your Beet Salad
Now you get to assemble the salad. The best way to do this is start with your greens, then layer slices of beets and apple, then sprinkle with pecans and goat cheese, and drizzle with dressing.
There are many ways to customize this beet salad recipe to suit your taste, accommodate dietary preferences, or just keep things fresh based on the season and what is available. Here are some ideas and substitutions to consider:
- Beet Variations:
- I use red and golden beets for this recipe because that is what I could find, but there are several different options, from red to golden, and chioggia beets. A variety can add flavor and color. You will get a more flavorful and visually stunning salad.
- All Baby Arugula: The arugula is a great option for this salad, if you can’t get spring mix, use all baby arugula.
- All Spring Mix: If you can’t get baby arugula, use all spring mix.
- Spinach: Substitute the arugula and spring mix with fresh spinach leaves for a milder flavor.
- Microgreens: Adding microgreens can be a great way to add some extra flavor and greens to your salad, and make it visually stunning as well.
- Feta: If you prefer a different type of cheese, crumbled feta can be used instead of goat cheese.
- Blue Cheese: Blue cheese is another option, but has a bolder flavor!
- Vegan Cheese: If you want a dairy-free option, consider a plant-based cheese.
- Walnuts or Almonds: Swap out the pecans for toasted walnuts for a crunchy and earthy option. Or almonds for a slightly different nutty flavor and texture.
- Candied Nuts: If you want to add a touch of sweetness, use candied nuts instead of toasted.
- Dried Fruit: Dried cranberries, apricots, or figs are a great alternative to fresh apples.
- Pears: A ripe pear makes a great alternative to the granny smith apples.
- Citrus Dressing: Instead of the balsamic, a citrus-based dressing can add a fun twist to the salad.
- Avocado: Add some creaminess to your salad with slices of avocado. It is both delicious and a nice healthy fat.
- Roasted Veggies: In addition to roasting beets, you can toss in some roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, as they can add some extra sweetness, and some richness and variety to the beet salad.
- Fresh Herbs: Finely chop some parsley, mint, or dill and add it to your salad for some extra freshness and even more complex flavor.
Make Ahead and Storage
Most salads are not really great made ahead or saved for later. But this is a fairly hearty salad, so there is a lot you can do ahead of time to prep the salad, and can even combine it a few hours early, and the flavors will simply meld together during that time. I prefer freshly assembled, but prepping the various components ahead can make getting a meal on the table easy. Here are some tips to remember for making it ahead:
- Roast Beets in Advance: The beets are great pre-roasted. So roast, slice, and refrigerate the beets until you are ready to assemble your salad. This can be done up to 3 days ahead without compromising flavor or texture.
- Store Ingredients Separately: Instead of assembling the salad, simply prep everything you need for it. Roast the beets. Toast the pecans. Slice the apples. etc. Then store them all separately, and assemble just before serving.
- Dress the Salad Just Before Serving: Do not pre-dress the salad, instead, drizzle that homemade balsamic over your beet salad just before serving to prevent wilting or sogginess.
- Opt for Sturdy Greens: If you are going to assemble your salad ahead of time, use sturdy greens like spinach over the delicate greens like arugula. But still wait to dress the salad until ready to serve.
Once dressed, this salad does not store well, so it is better to eat it fresh.
Other Great Recipes:
- Crudite Platter with Roasted Veggies
- Peach Berry Summer Salad
- Fall Harvest Salad
- Citrus Shrimp Spring Salad
- Tomato Burrata Salad
- Peach Burrata Salad
Beet Salad Ingredients:
- 6 beets about 2 lbs, red and golden
- 5 cups greens I like a mix of baby arugula and spring mix
- 4 oz goat cheese diced or crumbled
- 1/2 cup pecans toasted (instructions in post)
- 1/2 cup Granny Smith apple sliced, or use a ripe pear
- Flake salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove pressed
- ½ Tbs maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
How to Make Beet Salad:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a medium-rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Clean beets and dry thoroughly, then wrap each beet tightly in a sheet of foil and arrange on the lined baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the largest beet is easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove beets from oven and unwrap beets immediately.
- Let the beets cool to room temperature then using gloves, peel the skins from the beets by rubbing them, the skins will come right off.
- Cut off the beet root ends, and then slice roasted beets into halves and then thin wedges.
- Toast 1/2 cup pecans in a dry skillet. Once toasted, remove from heat and let cool. Toasting instructions can be found in the post.
- Slice apple or pear into thin slices.
- Place spring mix and arugula into a large salad bowl, and top with the remaining ingredients, sliced beets, goat cheese, toasted pecans, apple or pear slices.
- Mix up vinaigrette, and serve drizzled over the salad. Do not drizzle over salad until just before serving.
- Sprinkle with flake salt just before serving and fresh ground pepper.
How To Mix Vinaigrette:
- In a small mason jar, combine all ingredients and shake vigorously to combine. Shake again just before serving if not serving immediately.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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