Beet Salad with Arugula and Balsamic Vinaigrette

An easy beet salad with arugula, pecans, gorgonzola cheese and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. It’s perfect as a side salad or topped with protein for a meal sized salad.

Beet salad? Don’t mind if I do.

When brainstorming recipes, I began with the idea of making a simple, yet flavorful salad that could work as a starter for dinner or on its own for a light meal. I ended up turning this into a beet salad recipe with arugula as the base, gorgonzola cheese, toasted pecans and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Easy, fresh, filling and absolutely delicious. I hope you love it just as much as I do!

Why You’ll Love This Salad

  • Easy to make – Once your beets are cooked this salad comes together in a matter of minutes!
  • Customizable – Feel free to swap out or add ingredients based on what you have on hand. Make this recipe your own!
  • Delicious – The combo of sweet and earthy beets paired with creamy cheese, crunchy nuts and a zesty salad dressing is so dang good!
Ingredients measured out to make Beet Salad: beets, arugula, lemon juice, feta, pecans and balsamic vinaigrette.

Beet Salad Ingredients

You only need 5 simple ingredients to make the base of this salad! Here’s everything you need:

  • beets – the star of the show adding a delicious, earthy sweetness to a salad. Beets are also rich in fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C (source). I prefer to boil my beets, but you can also make roasted beets in the oven, instant pot beets, or for a shortcut use pre-cooked beets from the grocery store.
  • lemon juice – this is for boiling the beets. The lemon juice helps to prevent the beets from bleeding. You can also use vinegar if you don’t have lemons on hand.
  • raw pecans – for a crunchy texture and a dose of healthy fats and proteins. For a treat you could make these candied pecans instead. Feel free to swap the pecans with another nut or seed of choice like walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or pepitas.
  • baby arugula – for the base of this salad I went with zesty arugula, but feel free to use your favorite variety of greens. Spinach, baby kale, leafy lettuce, etc. would all be great options.
  • gorgonzola or feta cheese – brings creaminess and a sharp flavor, choose your favorite. Goat cheese would also be a great creamy option.
  • balsamic vinaigrette – we’re using my go-to balsamic vinaigrette recipe for the dressing, which pulls all the flavors of this salad together nicely.

How to Make This Easy Beet Salad

This beet salad doesn’t get much easier to make!

Step 1: Toast your pecans and boil your beets. To boil the beets, place washed and trimmed beets in a large saucepan, add water to cover and a little lemon juice or vinegar. Bring beets to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your beets. Drain and place pot under cold running water. Keeping rinsing until beets are cool enough to be handled. At this point the skin will slip right now off. Peel skin off the beets, quarter and set aside.

Photo of pecans toasting in a pan, and photo of beets being cut on a cutting board.

Step 2: To make the salad, add your arugula, cooked beets, pecans and cheese to a large serving dish or salad bowl. Drizzle with the prepared balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy! 

Photo of beet salad, next to a photo of a hard pouring a jar of balsamic dressing over the salad.

Brittany’s Tip!

To save time on cooking the beets, follow my recipe for instant pot beets, which comes together in about 20 minutes. Or you can buy pre-cooked beets at the grocery store! Look for those in the produce section — not canned beets! The pre-cooked beets in the produce section are cooked in their own juices and vacuum-packed for freshness so they’re super flavorful and so easy to use. 

A beet salad with arugula, pecans, and crumbled feta on a white plate.

Beet Salad Serving Suggestions

I typically serve this beet salad as a side salad for dinner or I’ll top it with my apple cider vinegar chicken or air fryer chicken breast for a meal-sized salad to enjoy on its own for lunch or dinner. It would also be delicious served alongside this sweet potato soup or butternut squash soup for lunch.

This beet salad would also be an excellent addition to your holiday menu. Serve it for Thanksgiving alongside this lentil loaf, green bean casserole, healthy mashed potatoes, sourdough stuffing, vegan pumpkin pie and dutch apple pie.

A beet salad with arugula, pecans, and crumbled feta in a bowl.

How to Prep in Advance

For this salad, you can prepare most components ahead of time. Here’s what I would do:

  1. Boil the beets, peel, and quarter them, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. Make the dressing and store it separately in the refrigerator.
  3. Toast the pecans and keep them in an airtight container at room temperature.

Right before serving, combine the cooled beets, arugula, pecans, and cheese in a large bowl, add the dressing to taste, and toss everything together. This method keeps the ingredients fresh and makes it easy to assemble the salad quickly when you’re ready to eat.

More Salad Recipes

Be sure to check out all my beet recipes as well as my full collection of salad recipes.

  • Place the beets in a large saucepan, add water to cover, as well as, the lemon juice or vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The cook time will vary based on how large the beets are. Drain and place pot under cold running water. Keeping rinsing until beets are cool enough to be handled. Peel skin off the beets, quarter and set aside.

  • While beets are cooking, make dressing and toast pecans. To make dressing, place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Toast pecans by placing them in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and spread on plate to cool.

  • To serve the salad, place arugula on a platter or in a large salad bowl. Top with beets, pecans, gorgonzola cheese. Serve with balsamic dressing on the side. You can toss the salad, but I find that all the toppings sink to the bottom and the liquid from the beets make the salad look kind of messy.

  • To make the prep of this salad even faster, you can use pre-cooked beets and/or store-bought dressing. These beets are found in the produce section of most grocery stores.

Serving: 1/6 recipe | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 25g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

This post was originally published on May 6, 2020 and republished on April 10, 2024.

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