We think it’s fair to say that a lot of people dislike beets, whether pickled, steamed or roasted. In fact, in a 2019 survey of 2,000 Americans conducted by OnePoll on behalf of VeggieTracker.com, beets topped the list of least-liked veggies overall. At a whopping 26%, they ranked even higher than Brussels sprouts, which came in at 21% on the “yuck scale.” We can only wonder if the people surveyed had ever tried That Salad Lady’s “Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese.”
If they had, they’d probably change their minds.
Still, we totally understand the beet skepticism. Beets look intimidating. It could seem that they’re difficult to prepare. On top of that, beets (especially red beets) have a unique earthy smell and flavor that the average palate might not be used to. While beet lovers would describe the earthy taste of beets as “sweet,” “rich” and “robust,” beet skeptics might describe it as “metallic,” “woodsy” and even “dirty.”
If you’re one of the latter beet skeptics, kudos for being here!
We certainly hope you’ll consider giving this roasted beet salad recipe a shot. Carefully crafted by our founder, Nina, a self-proclaimed former beet hater, this salad bowl combines the classic earthy flavor of red beets with the mellow, less earthy taste of golden beets and other sweet and savory ingredients for a craveable explosion of yumminess. You’ll never look at beets the same again.
THE BALANCING ACT
One of the best things about salad making is that the right combination and balance of ingredient layers can change the whole flavor profile of foods you’d normally not eat. Even the biggest beet skeptic will appreciate the flavor balancing that comes with combining red and golden beets. If you’ve never tasted a golden beet, you’re in for a real treat. If a pineapple and a red beet had a baby, you’ve got a golden beet.
Then there’s the tart deliciousness of creamy goat cheese, which somewhat overpowers the flavor of red beets – but in a good way. While this ingredient combo can easily stand alone, we didn’t stop here. From avocado to candied walnuts, all dressed with a maple balsamic vinaigrette, this mouthwatering recipe is chock-full of rich flavor and incredibly nutritious. It’s also vegan-friendly, gluten-free and surprisingly easy to make!
Let’s talk more about what’s in our Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese recipe and why.
The Bold and Beautiful Beet Mix
As we’ve already mentioned our recipe calls for a tasty mix of red and golden beets. The milder, somewhat sweeter cousin to red beets, golden beets are harvested during the summer and fall months though they’re generally available all year-round. While you’ll find classic red beets in most produce aisles, you might have to check around for the golden ones. If you can’t spot them, no sweat. We promise you a flavorful experience even with just the red ones.
Whether red or golden, beets themselves are packed full of nutrients, many that are hard to get from other plant-based foods.
Most notably, beets contain natural chemicals called nitrates. In our bodies, nitrates convert to nitric oxide which aids in healthy blood flow, supports normal cholesterol levels and helps regulate blood pressure. Beets are also a potent source of antioxidants including betaines, which offer protection against diabetes, cancer and inflammatory disorders. Study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn more about beets.
Goat Cheese for Perfectly Balanced Flavor
Roasted beets and goat cheese are indeed the perfect pairing so we had to combine them here! It’s just something about the savory and pleasantly tangy taste of this rich and creamy cheese that really brings out the best in the beets. You might be surprised to know that a serving of goat cheese is just a mere ounce – that’s about the size of a ping pong ball. But a little goes a very long way.
In fact, that little ounce delivers a lot of probiotics and offers more calcium than a single serving of cow cheese.
Now, when it comes to roasted beet pairings, there are few cheeses better than goat cheese. But if you can’t find goat cheese or don’t like it, feta cheese is generally your best bet. Though it’s a bit firmer in texture and saltier in taste, feta serves its purpose as a decent substitute. Another option is to use a plant-based goat cheese alternative. Doing so will make this roasted beet salad 100% vegan.
Some Green Things for Sweet and Tangy Bite
Our roasted beet salad recipe calls for using plenty of fresh arugula and Granny Smith apple for good bite.
With its tender texture and slightly peppery flavor, arugula makes a great base. Usually sold in bunches or packages, you can find arugula at just about any supermarket. Though generally grouped with leafy green vegetables, arugula is truly a crucifer, providing many of the same health and nutritional benefits as Bok choy and kale in addition to broccoli and Brussels sprouts (check out our Nutrition Glossary to learn more about crucifers).
Then there’s the apple, which perfectly complements the peppery arugula and other ingredients in the bowl. Aside from adding superior nutrition, the deliciously sweet and tart flavors of the apple really help offset the sheer earthiness of the beets making them much more palatable to the adverse.
Healthy Fats to Fill You Up
Here at That Salad Lady, we believe fats are must-have ingredients in EVERY salad bowl. Our Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese is certainly no exception. That’s why we include a triple dose of healthy fats in the forms of avocado, chia seeds and walnuts. You can either toast or candy the walnuts as per our recipe (see recipe card). Besides the unique flavor, texture and filling effects each of these fats bring to the bowl, they support your body’s ability to absorb all the yummy antioxidants housed in other ingredients.
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette to Kick it Up Notch
For a powerful finish, we round out the recipe with That Salad Lady’s homemade maple balsamic vinaigrette dressing. A sweet and zesty blend of dark balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and pure maple syrup, it’s a perfectly tangy and sweet dressing that brings the beets, goat cheese and all other ingredients together. It’s 100% vegan too! If you choose not to make our dressing, a simple light or dark balsamic vinaigrette will suffice.
GET YOUR CHOP ON
Of all ingredients in our recipe, chopping is only required for: (1) beets, (2) apple and (3) avocado, the latter two of which we recommend dicing up fresh when you’re actually ready to build your bowl. We won’t take a deep dive into those layers, as the beet prep requires a bit more instruction and time. We should also mention that the majority of the beet chopping happens once they’re roasted (watch the videos below to see exactly how it’s done).
As always, a good chef’s knife will make the chopping process a whole lot easier, but you can use whatever sharp knife you have. Start by removing the beet greens by hand or with your knife. Don’t throw them away. Beet greens are totally edible and can be added to smoothies or sautéed just as you would sauté spinach, kale or other leafy greens (check out That Salad Lady’s video on TikTok or Instagram to see how it’s done).
Once you’ve removed the greens, rinse and scrub the beets in cold water to remove all loose dirt and debris. Washing beets in vinegar is a good way to do this. Simply use a solution of three parts water and one part vinegar to get the job done. You can also use a vegetable wash if you have one. For an even more thorough rinse, scrub the beets with a clean, rough sponge. Once the beets are all rinsed, gently dry them with a clean dishcloth or paper towels.
After you’ve dried the beets well, you’ll simply trim off the tops and bottoms and then cut them in halves in preparation for roasting.
Cooking is required for the: (1) beets and (2) walnuts. Just decide whether you want to toast or candy the walnuts.
Oven Roast the Beets
For the beets, heat your oven to 400 degrees F. You’ll roast the beets with their skin as it’s easier to remove when cooked. Simply spread the beet halves on a lightly greased baking dish and then drizzle them with extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Once the beets are all oiled and seasoned, cover the dish with foil and roast the beets in the oven until they’re tender when poked with a fork. This’ll take about 50-60 minutes.
When the beets are done, let them cool for 5-10 minutes and then gently peel off the skin. Beets are heavily pigmented, so some hand staining is just part of the process. You can wear cooking gloves or even use a paper towel if you wish. Once you’ve removed the skin, slice and then dice the beets into small cubes and set them aside until you’re ready to build your bowl.
Toast or Candy the Walnuts
To toast the walnuts, just heat up the oven to 350 degrees F and bake them for 5-10 minutes. That’s all! Doesn’t get any simpler than this. Candying requires a bit more hands-on time, but the process is pretty straightforward. We’ve included That Salad Lady’s signature honey-based glaze recipe for candying. For a 100% vegan version, simply swap out the honey for pure maple syrup.
Once you’ve chopped up and/or cooked the bulk of the ingredients for the salad bowl, the hard work is pretty much done. If using our maple balsamic vinaigrette, gather all the ingredients for the dressing (see recipe card), add them to a jar with a twist off lid and just shake it up until everything’s well-mixed. You can also combine and whisk all your ingredients together in a bowl or even use a blender or food processor if you have one.
BUILD YOUR SALAD BOWL
We suggest you don’t “dress” or even build the salad until you’re actually ready to eat or serve it. Adding the dressing and layering the ingredients too soon can result in a soggy salad. If you’re planning for leftovers, you won’t be as happy with your creation the next day. When you’re ready to build your bowl, simply dice the avocado and apple (with its skin) and then layer the arugula, beets, apple, avocado, goat cheese and walnuts.
Add a layer of dressing to each layer of arugula (see video on recipe card) and then top off the bowl with sprinkles of chia seeds.
All put together, the actual blend is large enough for eight servings. You can serve this Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese as a starter or side dish, or add another layer of protein (see below) to make it a full meal. We recommend storing any leftover ingredients in airtight containers and building your bowl on a meal-by-meal basis.
You may have leftover beets. In an airtight container or plastic bag, they’ll keep in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for 6-8 months. For variety, you can enjoy them as a side dish or even sprinkle them with a little goat cheese (or whatever cheese you choose) for a quick and convenient snack.
Add Your Finishing Touches
To boost the protein content and overall filling effect of your salad, throw in a handful of cooked salmon, chicken or even roasted extra-firm tofu. Visit our Nutrition Glossary for more ideas. It’s all about making YOU confident in building YOUR bowl.
SHOW US YOUR BOWL
That Salad Lady wants to see your bowl! If you like it, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate. Please review our full disclaimer to get a clear understanding of the nutrition and health information and resources presented and written on our website.