Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad
Get ready to fall in love beets! This Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad with peppery arugula, creamy goat cheese & avocados makes for the perfect lunch or side dish.
An Underrated Combination
When it comes to salads, there are some combinations that just go hand in hand. For example, the best part of a Cobb salad is the pairing of hard boiled eggs and bacon. The perfect autumn salad features ripe apples and dried cranberries for a delicious balance of sweet and tart. There are so many more combinations that are a no brainer, from tomatoes and cheese to croutons and parmesan cheese. But what about the underrated salad combinations?
When you think of beets, citrus probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. But roasted beets and fresh citrus pair beautifully together! Beets have an earthy flavor profile, and citrus has a vibrant, zesty taste. When combined, the flavors play off one another and yield an unbeatable result. Together, beets and oranges are an unstoppable combination that is not to be underestimated!
What is Beetroot?
The term “beetroot” refers to the taproot portion of the beet plant. While the leaves are edible, they are most commonly discarded. Beets are a root vegetable known for their signature red color. They do come in other colors and varieties though, such as golden beets. Golden beets have a slightly more earthy aroma than red beets; furthermore, they also have a slightly nutty taste to them!
Did you know that beets have a number of positive health benefits? Not only are beets packed with rich minerals and nutrients, but they’re also known to help fight inflammation and improve digestion. In recent years, beet juice has become increasingly popular to aid in gut health. Beet juice is proven to help prevent constipation, IBS, and even diverticulitis! But you don’t need to drink beet juice to receive the benefits. Simply consuming beets will positively affect your well-being.
How to Avoid Beet Stains
Unfortunately, I learned the hard way years ago that red beets can not only stain your hands but your clothes too. So, before we dive into this recipe, I thought it only fair that I share the tips I learned to avoid beetroot stains!
First, the easiest way to protect your hands is to wear gloves. Peeling or slicing beets can quickly leave your hands with a bright red stain. While scrubbing will remove the color from your skin, it can leave your nails with a hint of color.
As for clothing, the first tip is to wear an apron. However, if the beets do stain your clothes- don’t fret. You can remove the stains with hydrogen peroxide or diluted bleach. Apply to the stain before rinsing the warm water and washing as normal. The stain should come out in one wash!
Preparing & Roasting the Beets
While you can opt for pre-peeled and cut beets from the grocery store, I like to buy beets with their stem intact. Luckily, beets are not on the dirty dozen list, so you don’t have to buy from the organic section. I prefer to buy whole beetroot because there are countless options to utilize the greens and leaves. As I mentioned before, the leaves are actually edible! I opt to use the leaves in vegetable stock though with the beet peels. It gives my vegetable stock a beautiful color and taste!
This recipe calls red and golden beets- roughly four to five of each. After removing the leaves from the beets, wash well and dry with a paper towel. As beets are root vegetables, they can be very dirty. Next, carefully peel each beet and slice off the root and the bottom of the beet. I wish I had a fast tip or trick to peeling these beauties, but luckily they’re worth the effort.
Finally, once the beets are peeled, slice the beets into half an inch thick pieces. Then, lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. As far as seasoning goes, I like to keep it very simple to best allow the flavor of the beets to shine. I just drizzle olive oil over the beets and season with a dash of salt and pepper. Then, into the oven they go for 30 minutes! I flip the beets halfway, but it’s not necessary to do so. Once the beets are tender, remove from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature.
The Base of the Recipe
Like any good salad, the greens you use will affect the overall flavor profile of the salad. So, what is the best base for this roasted beet salad?
- Spinach: Raw spinach has a mild, sweet flavor that can be refreshing when paired with the right ingredients. The sweetness from the spinach would balance the earthy undertones of the beets nicely. Plus, this hearty green is easy to pair withe additional toppings!
- Arugula: Some would call this vegetable “spicy”, thanks to its pepper-like flavor. Arugula is definitely more earthy than spinach and other greens. It pairs well with almonds, lemon, and fruit.
- Cabbage: There’s a variety of different kinds of cabbage to choose from, but most have a bitterness to them when served raw. This crunchy vegetable pairs well with citrus or vinegar, which is why it’s used in coleslaw!
As you can probably guessed by the pictures, my salad base is arugula. I love the peppery taste paired with the beets. While both are more earthy, I think the arugula enhances the flavor of the beets. Plus, it’s balanced out by the additional ingredients- like the creamy goat cheese and avocado.
The Right Citrus
When you think of citrus, oranges probably come to mind. But citrus is an umbrella term used to describe fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, and limes. With so many different kinds of citrus, which is the best choice?
- Grapefruit: Red or pink grapefruits are the most common- mostly because they are the sweetest. While still bitter, these grapefruit are a refreshing addition in salads.
- Pomelos: Did you know that pomelos are the largest citrus? Pomelos are not as popular as grapefruit or oranges, as they’re native to Southeast Asia. This citrus fruit is actually less bitter than the grapefruit and has more of a sweet, tangy flavor.
- Lemons & Limes: While often used in vinaigrettes, these citrus fruits are uncommon in salads.
- Oranges: From the classic navel orange to the seasonal blood orange, oranges have a sweet-tart taste. This citrus lacks the bitterness of the grapefruit is the sweetest option.
For this roasted beet and citrus salad, I would recommend utilizing grapefruit or oranges as the citrus component. If you like a little bitterness, or choose spinach as your base, grapefruit is the ideal option. If you use arugula, then I would opt for oranges. As for what type of orange to use, I went with the navel orange. Navel oranges are sweet, mildly acidic and can be found in grocery stores year-round. You could also use cara cara oranges, blood oranges, or even mandarin oranges.
Creating the Perfect Vinaigrette
I believe that a salad dressing can make or break the recipe. An amazing dressing can take a salad to the next level, while the wrong choice can throw off the whole flavor of the salad itself. That’s why it is always best to skip perusing endless options in the grocery store and opt for a homemade recipe. Most vinaigrettes require less than five ingredients- most of which you already have in your pantry!
This citrus vinaigrette recipe is easy, refreshing and so tasty! All you need is olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and honey. The olive oil acts as our neutral base, but you can also use any nut oil available. The lemon juice is our citrus component that adds acidity to the vinaigrette. While you can use orange juice, I think it is a bit too sweet for this recipe- especially since honey will also be used. The lemon juice adds the perfect amount of acidity and works well with the dijon mustard. Then, all you need is a touch of salt and pepper to taste, and you’re good to go!
The Final Ingredients
Now that we’ve covered the beets, greens, citrus and vinaigrette- it’s time for the last components.
- Goat Cheese: Roasted beets and goat cheese is a classic combination. The two work so well together because the creamy goat cheese contrasts with earthy notes of the beets. Not only do they balance one another, but they also enhance the flavors.
- Avocado: Another creamy component, avocados are an easily addition that adds more color to the salad and compliments the flavor of the beets. Avocados actually have a slightly nutty taste with earthy, grassy undertones.
- Almonds: There are a number of nuts you can choose for this recipe, from pistachios to walnuts, but my favorite is toasted slivered almonds. The crunch is the perfect textural component and the flavor plays on the notes of the other ingredients.
If you’re looking to make this a heartier meal, I would recommend adding chicken or salmon as a protein. You can also add quinoa; which, pairs well with the beets!
Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad
For the Salad
- 4 golden beets, peeled
- 4 red beets, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 avocado, pitted and diced
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
For the Citrus Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- For the Salad
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line one medium-sized baking sheet with parchment paper
- Remove the stem and leaves from each beet. Then wash and carefully peel the beets. Slice off the root and bottom before cutting in 1/2″ thick pieces.
- Arrange the golden and red beets on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Wash the arugula and add to a large salad bowl. Then, peel and slice the orange before adding to the bowl.
- Add the diced avocado, crumbled goat cheese and toasted almonds.
- Once cooled to room temperature, add the beets to the salad.
- For the Vinaigrette
- Add all the ingredients to a mason jar. Cover with the lid and shake vigorously for thirty seconds.
- Dress the salad to your liking, then use salad tongs to toss in order to evenly distribute the vinaigrette.
- Serve the salad and enjoy!
- Refrigerate up to three days in an air tight container.