beet saladThis beet salad is a fantastic fall side dish. It features sweet roasted beets, tangy citrus, and peppery arugula. The bright, gorgeous colors make it perfect for holiday gatherings! It’s vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, and refined sugar-free.

I love grilled beets. 

There’s truly nothing quite like the flavor of grilled vegetables. Sweet, caramelized, and a little charred with a soft yet crisp texture.

Can you boil beets for beet salad? Yes, but there are several reasons why grilling beets is superior to boiling, steaming, or even microwaving beets:

  • Flavor: when you boil or steam beets, some sweet flavor leaches into the water. On the other hand, grilling is well known to enhance and intensify the natural flavors in food, especially vegetables and fruit. Exposure to open heat caramelizes the sugars within and mellows intense flavors into rich, multilayered perfection, adding depth and complexity to the overall dish.
  • Texture: grilling creates the kind of crispy exterior and just-tender interior that make vegetables the star of a meal. Grilled vegetables often retain more complex textures than vegetables prepared in other ways.
  • Color: colorful vegetables often lose some color during steaming, blanching, or boiling as their pigments (e.g., chlorophyll, anthocyanins, carotenoids, etc.) dissolve in water. Grilling has the opposite effect on appearance. Grilled vegetables look more upscale with earthier colors and slight charring, conveying the impression that whoever cooked them took more time and care in their preparation.

I understand that not everyone has access to a grill, though. The good news is that you can achieve a similar result with roasting in the oven. You can’t get a smoky char from the oven, but you can get almost identical caramelization. 

Ready to make the best beet salad?

grilled beet salad

Tips for Making Beet Salad

Ingredients

This simple beet salad calls for just a handful of ingredients, but it’s so bright and flavorful that it’s always a winner. The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • Beets: the most common beets are deep red. I love the bright color of red beets, but you can also use golden beets or Chioggia beets, which have red and white concentric stripes. These less common varieties are usually more expensive and sometimes have a more subtle, delicate flavor than the red beet. Regardless of the color, when selecting beets, choose those that are firm to the touch and free of bruises or blemishes. If the beet greens are still attached, look for leaves that are bright in color and crisp. As for the size of the beets, large beets take a long time to cook, so I prefer picking small or medium beets.
  • Citrus: beets and citrus are a classic combination. They go incredibly well together. I’m not very picky about the type of citrus, but I often use an orange and grapefruit. 
  • Arugula: I debated using fresh herbs instead of leafy greens but ultimately decided on arugula. The pepperiness of arugula provides a nice contrast to the sweet beets and tangy citrus.
  • Walnuts: nuts add a nice crunch to any salad. I went with walnuts because their earthy flavor compliments the beets, but pecans or pistachios are also popular in beet salads. Toasting the walnuts is optional, but it will heighten their flavor and make them even crunchier.

Beet Citrus Salad Dressing

This citrus salad dressing essentially plays off the ingredients in the salad itself:

  • Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil creates the base for the dressing. You could also use walnut oil or a mix of the two.
  • Lemon + other citrus juice: to boost the citrus flavor, I add lemon juice and a squeeze of juice from whatever citrus fruit I am using in the salad. 
  • Chives: I prefer the subtle onion flavor of chives over shallots or red onions, but you can use any allium you like. 
  • Maple syrup: depending on the sweetness of the citrus fruit, you might want to add a little bit of maple syrup (or honey if not vegan) to balance the acidity.
  • Salt: I love the delicate crunch that the flaky salt adds to this beet salad, but if you can’t find it, regular sea salt would be fine too.

raw beets

Make Grilled Beet Salad

Perhaps you haven’t yet considered grilling beets, but the grill’s fire brings out the earthy sweetness of beets with an added hint of smoky flavor and an almost candied, caramelized coating. Here are the steps for making grilled beet salad:

  1. Preheat the grill. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to high (~ 400°F/204°C). 
  2. Grill the beets. Place the unpeeled whole beets on the grill and let them cook until tender, for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the beets, turning the beets every 10 minutes or so until they’re charred on all sides and a pairing knife can easily pierce the beet all the way to the center. 
  3. Peel the beets. Using tongs, take the beets off the grill, transfer them to a large bowl, and cover the bowl tightly with a piece of plastic wrap to allow the beets to steam for about 30 minutes. This will make it easier to peel the beets later. When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub off the skins under cold running water. The skins should slip off easily.
  4. Prepare the dressing. Add the olive oil, citrus juice, chives, and maple syrup to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss the beets in the dressing. Cut the peeled beets into wedges and toss them with the dressing. It’s important to keep the red beets separate from the arugula and the walnuts; otherwise, they turn the whole salad pink.
  6. Assemble the salad. Place the arugula on a large platter or into a bowl and top it with the dressed beets, citrus, and walnuts. Serve immediately.

How to Make Roasted Beet Salad

If you can’t access a grill, you can roast the beets instead. Oven-roasted beets are easy to make and retain all their flavor. One of the most common ways to roast beets is to wrap them in aluminum foil. I don’t like having aluminum in direct contact with my food, so I roast beets without foil. Here’s how:

How to Roast Beets

  1. Preheat the oven. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400°F/204°C. 
  2. Roast the beets. Place the beets on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Rub each beet with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and black pepper, and roast the beets until tender, for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. The beets are ready when a knife inserted into the center of the beet shows little to no resistance. 
  3. Peel the beets. Remove the beets from the oven and set them aside until cool. When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub off the skins under cold running water. The skins should slip off easily.
  4. Prepare the dressing. Add the olive oil, citrus juice, chives, and maple syrup to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss the beets in the dressing. Cut the peeled beets into wedges and toss them with the dressing. It’s important to keep the red beets separate from the arugula and the walnuts; otherwise, they turn the whole salad pink.
  6. Assemble the salad. Place the arugula on a large platter or into a bowl and top it with the dressed beets, citrus, and walnuts. Serve immediately.

roasted beets

sliced roasted beets

How to Serve Beet Salad

This beet salad is the perfect side for any late summer or fall meal. 

You could enjoy it for lunch with roasted butternut squash soup or roasted vegetable soup. You could also serve it for Thanksgiving with classic dishes like mashed potatoes and lentil loaf

How to Store Beet Salad

  • Refrigerating: you can store the grilled (or roasted) beets and the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Assemble the salad just before serving.

beet salad recipe

More Salad Recipes

  • Garden salad: garden salad is one of the most basic salads, yet it’s also one of the most popular. This garden salad is made with fresh garden vegetables tossed in a light, tangy vinaigrette dressing. It’s a great side that pairs well with almost anything and is one of the best healthy salad recipes. 
  • Apple Kale Salad: this massaged kale salad is full of fresh ingredients tossed in a simple lemon-mustard dressing. Great for lunch!
  • Cucumber Zucchini Salad: featuring fresh cilantro, chili pepper, and lime juice, this cucumber zucchini salad recipe is a refreshing summer side dish.

If you try any of these recipes, please leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.

beet citrus salad recipe

Beet Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 4
This beet salad is a fantastic fall side dish. It features sweet roasted beets, tangy citrus, and peppery arugula. The bright, gorgeous colors make it perfect for holiday gatherings!

Ingredients
 

Beet Salad

  • 4-5 (4-5) medium beets
  • olive oil, , for drizzling
  • salt and black pepper, , to taste
  • 1 (1) grapefruit, , sliced or cut into segments + 1 tbsp. juice reserved
  • 1 (1) orange, , sliced or cut into segments + 1 tbsp. juice reserved
  • 1 cup (21 g) arugula
  • 1/4 cup (29 g) walnuts, , chopped

Beet Salad Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) grapefruit juice
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. (3 g) chives, , finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp. (5-10 ml) maple syrup
  • salt and black pepper, , to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the grill. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to high (~ 400°F/204°C).
  • Grill the beets. Place the unpeeled whole beets on the grill and let them cook until tender, for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the beets, turning the beets every 10 minutes or so until they're charred on all sides and a pairing knife can easily pierce the beet all the way to the center. 
  • Roast the beets (if not using a grill). Preheat the oven to 400°F/204°C and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Place the beets on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Rub each beet with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and black pepper, and roast the beets until tender, for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. The beets are ready when a knife inserted into the center of the beet shows little to no resistance. 
  • Peel the beets. Using tongs, take the beets off the grill, transfer them to a large bowl, and cover the bowl tightly with a piece of plastic wrap to allow the beets to steam for about 30 minutes. This will make it easier to peel the beets later. When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub off the skins under cold running water. The skins should slip off easily.
  • Prepare the dressing. Add the olive oil, citrus juice, chives, and maple syrup to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss the beets in the dressing. Cut the peeled beets into wedges and toss them with the dressing. It's important to keep the red beets separate from the arugula and the walnuts; otherwise, they turn the whole salad pink.
  • Assemble the salad. Place the arugula on a large platter or into a bowl and top it with the dressed beets, citrus, and walnuts. Serve immediately.
  • Store. You can store the grilled (or roasted) beets and the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Assemble the salad just before serving.

Notes

*Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please feel free to make your own calculations.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 4, Calories: 186kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 15g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keywords: beet salad, beet salad recipe, citrus beet salad