Pretty in pink.
This roasted beet salad with citrus vinaigrette recipe is one of my favorite side dishes. And I say this as someone late to the beet game. When I was younger, I categorized beets as those weird, vaguely off-putting orbs I’d avoid in the supermarket, along with the rest of the un-fun, dirt-encrusted produce like turnips and radishes and yams.
But, in the grand tradition of experience eventually trumping ignorant youthful assumption, I was wrong. Beets are gorgeous, flavorful, and packed with nutrition.
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Though usually available year round, beets are typically in season and most popular from fall through spring, along with other root vegetables. Beets come in multiple colors and sizes, from deep ruby to purple and gold. The flavor — earthy and mildly sweet — is about the same. Nutrition-wise, beets contain fiber, folate, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, and iron.
Don’t forget about the beet greens! They are completely edible and packed with nutrition. Rinse them very well because they are often sandy, and then sauté with a little olive oil and salt, as you would spinach or other tender green. Beet greens make a great bed to the beet salad.
How to Roast Beets
Roasting beets could not be more simple. You don’t even have to peel them first — there is a trick for that later.
To roast beets, rinse them well to remove any dirt, and cut the greens off down to the stump. Wrap the entire batch of beets in foil, put them on a baking sheet, and roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until fork tender, anywhere from one to two hours, depending on the size of the beet. For this reason, I recommend sticking to medium- to small-sized beets. The large ones take a while.
To peel roasted beets, unwrap them from the foil and let them cool enough to handle them. Using a couple of paper towels, gently rub the beets. The skins should slip right off.
Recipe Notes: Roasted Beet Salad With Citrus Vinaigrette
- Serve this salad at a cool room temperature
- The citrus vinaigrette can be made up to two days in advance
- I like to add some roasted carrots to this as well, but that is optional. Halve carrots lengthwise, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until very tender, about an hour or slightly longer. You can also roast the carrots at 375 degrees on a separate baking sheet while the beets cook, but the higher temperature could cause them to over-caramelize before the carrots are tender in the center. So just keep an eye out. You may need to tent the carrots with a little foil to finish cooking them.
- Variations: Top your roasted beet salad with big dollops of burrata. It would taste amazing here, as would fresh goat cheese.
- This is a great make-ahead side dish! The entire salad can be made, assembled, dressed, and refrigerated. Just let it come to cool room temperature on the counter, and drizzle with a little olive oil and a fresh sprinkling of sea salt. If you are going to top with cheese, do not do that in advance. Wait until just before serving. Otherwise, the beets will stain the white cheese.
- A note about zesters. Orange zest is key here, both for aroma and garnish. I recommend any home chef have two types of zesters: a Microplane rasp for fine zesting, and a citrus zester that makes long, decorative ribbons. This OXO one is a little clunky looking, but has a bonus channel knife for even bigger curls (think: cocktails).
What’s your favorite way to enjoy beets? Share below.
Roasted Beet Salad With Citrus Vinaigrette
For the Vinaigrette
- 2 teaspoons orange zest, from one medium-sized orange, plus more to garnish
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon honey, maple syrup, or sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Beets and to Finish
- 3 1/2 pounds small- to medium-sized beets, greens reserved
- kosher salt
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise, optional
- fresh goat cheese or burrata, optional
For the Vinaigrette
- Whisk all the ingredients together until emulsified. Taste for seasoning. Reserve until ready to use.
For the Beets
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Cut the beet greens from the beets, and reserve. Rinse the beets well. Wrap them whole and unpeeled in foil. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until fork tender, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the beets.
- If you are roasting carrots, peel and slice them lengthwise. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast on a separate lined baking sheet until very tender, about 1 hour or slightly longer. If desired, clean and chop the beet greens and sauté them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper until soft. Use them as a bed for the finished salad.
- Remove the beets from the oven. Open the foil (careful of the steam!) and let cool to warm room temperature before peeling. Peel the beets by simply rubbing a paper towel over them. The skins should slip right off.
- Slice the beets into 1/4" rounds and arrange them nicely on a serving platter, using the beet greens as a bed, if desired.
- Give the vinaigrette a whisk to refresh and re-emulsify. Pour all over the salad. You may not need all of it.
- Top with a sprinkle of salt, add dollops of goat cheese or burrata (if using), and garnish with ribbons of orange zest. Serve at room temperature.