Sunny golden beets are centre stage for this brightly coloured, delicious salad that is packed full of immunity-boosting vitamins.
In this Golden Beet Salad, the beetroots are roasted to enhance their sweetness, the baby spinach adds a mild green taste and the walnuts add a nice crunch. The honey mustard dressing ties everything together with its tangy sweetness.
Differences between red and golden beets
Their colour which comes from two different pigments betacyanins the dark colour pigment mainly found in red beets and betaxanthins the lighter colour pigment found in golden beets. Both are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.
Golden beets taste sweeter with a very mild earthy flavour which makes them a great option for red beet haters.
When it comes to nutrition all beets are great sources of fiber, iron, folic acid and potassium (great for lowering blood pressure).
Golden beets fall into the orange and yellow food category, (eat a rainbow remember. ?). These vegetables contain high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, lycopene (an antioxidant also good for sun protection), flavonoids, and zeaxanthin (an eye vitamin).
Can I just use red beets?
Golden beets are not readily available here in Australia, I usually find mine at farmers markets during the winter and I have also seen them at speciality green grocers.
If you can’t find them it is perfectly ok to just use red beets or any other combination of beets you find.
What about canned beets?
Don’t even think about opening a tin for this salad they taste completely different – they are briny and full of sodium. If you are in a hurry then use the vacuum-packed beets instead.
What other substitutions can I make for golden beet salad?
Greens – we have used baby spinach but you can also try finely shredded silverbeet or chard, massaged kale, peppery rocket (arugula) or even a spring/mesclun mix instead.
Walnuts – try buttery pecans, sweet-tasting almonds, roasted hazelnuts, vibrant pistachios or exotic macadamias.
For some added decadence try adding the honey buttered macadamias we have used in Mixed Leaf & Cherry Salad just leave out the honey in the dressing otherwise the salad will become too sweet.
The dressing if you are looking for a simpler alternative try drizzling some balsamic glaze on top instead. But, this is just such a great dressing that you can easily be made in advance and kept it in a sealed container in the fridge.
Try adding some salty feta, creamy goats cheese or even any blue cheese such as Gorgonzola, Stilton or blue Castello. Or for jewelled colour try adding some pomegranate.
What can I serve it with?
You can pair this golden beet salad with pork, poultry or any other meats. I especially love it with oily fish such as herring, grilled sardines or garlic baked salmon. I also love it with a goats cheese pasta or a goats cheese tart.
For an elegant dinner party main try it with a Florentine style pork rack and golden roast potatoes.
Steps to Making Golden Beet Salad
STEP 1 – PREPARE & ROAST BEETS
- Preheat your oven 220°C 425°F. Place a piece of baking paper on your chopping board to prevent it from staining.
- Trim the root end and the leaves from your beets do not throw them away if they are fresh and unmarked they make a great salad on their own (details in the pointers section below).
- Scrub your beets thoroughly under cold running water to remove all the dirt. As beets are grown in the ground they are quite often laden with dirt.
- Line a baking tray with a large piece of heavy-duty foil (a big enough piece so that you can tightly wrap the beets in them), then place the beets in the middle and drizzle them with some olive oil and season with some sea salt, and cracked black pepper.
- Keep your red beets and your golden beets separate. Use one tray for the golden beets and another tray for the red beets so that the red beets don’t bleed into the golden beets.
- Tightly seal the foil this keeps them from drying out in the hot oven and helps them retain their own juices and stay tender.
You can, of course, wrap each beet individually, but they roast just as well if you place them together.
- Place them in your oven (the middle section). How long you roast your beets will depend on their size, how fresh they are (fresher cooks faster), how many beets there are and if you have anything else in your oven.
Your small beets could take half an hour and your larger ones could take an hour or more. Just start checking them after they have been in the oven for 20 minutes or so.
- To test if the beets are done, remove the foil packets from the oven, carefully open the foil to prevent getting burned by escaping steam and prick the largest beet in the middle with a fork, it should come out easily and it should feel soft and tender.
When done use your tongs to carefully unwrap them and allow them to cool before handling.
- To peel your roasted beets, wear gloves to avoid staining, then you could either rub them with your gloved hands, use kitchen paper to rub the skins off or use a small paring knife to peel the skins away. You will be surprised how easy it will be, I find it easier to just use my gloved hands, to be honest.
- Once peeled, you are ready to cut your roasted beets according to your recipe just don’t forget to do this on a lined chopping board to prevent nasty beet stains.
Step 2 – Shake up the dressing
- Place all your dressing ingredients in a glass jar, season and shake until emulsified.
- Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Step 3 – Assemble the Salad
- Wash your baby spinach in a colander under cold running water, remove any damaged or wilted leaves. Then either pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or spin dry in a salad spinner.
- Arrange your dry spinach leaves on a salad platter, place the red roasted beets on top, then add the golden beets, scatter the walnuts on top.
- Shake your dressing one more time and place it in a jug. Serve your salad with the dressing on the side. Enjoy!
A few pointers for this salad
- Don’t mix your golden beet salad, either just pour the dressing on the top or serve it on the side otherwise the beetroots will bleed into each other.
- Roast a few bunches of beets at a time and keep them in an airtight container in your fridge to add to other salads. I like to season them keep them in an oil and red wine vinegar base for some added tanginess (up to you if you would like to add some garlic).
- If you are roasting a few bunches of beets at a time, keep the leaves, if they are not damaged and look fresh. They can be kept to add to your next green salad mix.
- Alternatively, I like to first blanch them and then make them into a salad with red wine vinegar and olive oil. In a pot of boiling, salted water, add the stems and boil until tender (approximately 5-10 minutes), then add the leaves and boil for an additional 5 minutes. Drain well add some red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic (optional), salt and pepper, then mix until combined. They make a great tangy side dish.
Make ahead and meal Prep tips
- Roast the beets up to a week in advance and store them covered in your fridge.
- Make a huge batch of dressing up to a week in advance and keep it covered in the fridge to use in a variety of salads.
- Great for weekday lunches just roast the beets, make the dressing and assemble the salad in containers the day before eating.
- For meal prep, use the spinach as your base, top with the red beets, then the golden beets, add the nuts and keep the dressing in a separate container to add and mix through the salad just before serving.
- For some added protein try adding some cheese (feta, goats cheese, blue cheese), pulled pork, grilled chicken or flaked salmon
Some more beet salad recipes to fall in love with:
(Times are an estimate and will depend on your skill level)
- 450 grams yellow beets (approximately 3-4 medium beets)
- 450 grams red beets (approximately 3-4 medium beets)
- 120 grams baby spinach leaves (or any salad greens you like, should be approximately 4 cups)
- ¼ cup pecans (roasted)
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- 2 tbsps wholegrain mustard
- 2 tbsps honey
- Sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 220°C 425°F
- It is always a good idea to wear gloves when working with beetroots and to line your board with baking paper to prevent discolouration
- Trim and scrub your beets1. Line two baking trays with heavy-duty foil (one for the red and one for the golden beets). Place the beets (separately) in each baking tray, season and add some oil then fold the ends of each packet tightly to seal.
- Place in a baking tray and place in the middle section of your oven, roast until soft (approximately 40-60 minutes).
- To test if the beets are done, remove the foil packets from the oven, carefully open the foil to prevent getting burned by escaping steam and prick the largest beet in the middle with a fork, it should come out easily.
- When the beets are cooked, carefully peel when cool then cut into wedges. Keep them separate.
- Place all your dressing ingredients in a glass jar add a pinch of salt and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Wash and dry your baby spinach and arrange on a salad platter. Place the red beets on top, then add the golden beets, scatter the walnuts on top.
- Either pour the dressing over the salad but do not toss or serve it on the side.
- If your leaves are not damaged and look fresh you can keep them to add to your next green salad mix. Alternatively, I like to first boil them and make them into a salad with red wine vinegar and olive oil. In a pot of boiling, salted water, add the stems and boil until tender (approximately 10 minutes), then add the leaves and boil for an additional 5 minutes. Drain well add some red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, then mix until combined.