Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad

Food

This Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad is topped with a light honey dijon vinaigrette. This salad is so quick & easy to make and the perfect addition to the dinner table — it pairs well with so many different main dishes! Or make this into a big dinner salad by adding some grilled chicken or steak.

Overhead image of the beet goat cheese walnut salad

Overhead image of the beet goat cheese walnut salad

Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad 

We love a good salad recipe — probably no surprise to you there. But with salad recipes, we’re usually in the camp of “more is more.” Got some extra nuts or seeds lying around? Throw ’em in. An avocado? Of course. Dried cranberries or cherries? Why not?!

But the goal with this salad is to be as simple as possible with the concept of “less is more”. Because if you want to make a salad for a big holiday dinner or to accompany a heavier meal like a crockpot pot roast, it’s not practical to be spending loads of time on making said salad. That said, although the goal is simplicity, there still has to be loads of flavor because otherwise, why even make it…right?!

These two goals are the epitome of this salad: easy AND tasty. You’ll be amazed how quickly it comes together and how much flavor you’ll be enjoying from such simple ingredients. This Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad is definitely getting served at our holiday table this year!

Process shots-- images of the dressing being mixed together and the walnuts being toasted and the lettuce being laid out

Process shots-- images of the dressing being mixed together and the walnuts being toasted and the lettuce being laid out

Dressing Ingredients

We’re nothing short of obsessed with this dressing! It’s the perfect balance of tangy and sweet and robustly flavored. Below are all the ingredients in this honey-dijon vinaigrette along with our top ingredient tips:

  • Olive oil. The better the olive oil used, the better the flavor of this dressing. We recommend extra virgin olive oil for this recipe. 
  • Dijon mustard. We love Grey Poupon® Dijon best. Make sure to use Dijon, not yellow mustard. There’s a big flavor difference!
  • Honey. For a sweeter dressing, add additional honey, slowly, and to taste. Use a spoon and stir any honey back into the dressing if it has settled at the bottom of the jar.
  • Minced shallot. This ingredient gives the dressing a nice depth of flavor and savoriness without being overpowering like an onion.
  • Red wine vinegar. The vinegar adds tang, sweetness, and the perfect ingredient to tie everything together.
  • Salt and pepper. No dressing is complete without salt and pepper, and the vinaigrette coating this Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad is no exception!

Process shots of the beet goat cheese walnut salad-- images of the beets, walnuts, goat cheese, and dressing being added to the salad

Process shots of the beet goat cheese walnut salad-- images of the beets, walnuts, goat cheese, and dressing being added to the salad

Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad Components

  • Beets: To save loads of time here (roasting beets are easy– but time-consuming) we choose already cooked beets from the produce section of the store (We love Love Beets™ best!). A lot of grocery stores offer flavored/seasoned beets, but we prefer plain for this salad so we don’t end up with competing flavors. Of course, if you’d prefer to roast your own beets, check out the section below “How to Roast Beets”
  • Goat cheese: We’re obsessed with the combo of goat cheese and beets, but if you don’t love goat cheese, try feta. Feta is more salty than tangy, but complements the beets nicely.
  • Walnuts: Again, to save time, we grab already chopped walnuts. You can grab dry roasted and salted too for more flavor and no additional work. If you have raw walnuts, we highly recommend toasting them (see “quick tip”), but it’s up to you since the point of this salad is to be quick & easy!

QUICK TIP

Toasting walnuts brings the natural oils to the surface which intensifies the rich nutty flavors, creates a deeper color, and makes the nuts even crunchier — it’s a game changer for improving the flavor and texture of this Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad! To toast: place the walnuts in a single layer in a heavy skillet (you don’t need to add anything else) and stir them around on medium-low heat. It only takes about 2-3 minutes (sometimes less depending on how much heat they are getting) until they are toasted and smelling quite fragrant. Make sure you are stirring them around and watching constantly so they don’t have a chance to burn!

Up close overhead image of the salad showing the beets

Up close overhead image of the salad showing the beets

If you’d prefer to roast your own beets for this Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad (instead of buying already cooked beets), here’s our favorite way to prepare them:

How To Roast Beets

Tip: You may want to wear gloves when working with beets, because they can stain your hands and fingernails. Also, I recommend a dark plastic cutting board, since beets will stain wood and lighter boards.

  • Trim the beets. Cut the tops off the beets (save the beet greens and use them in one of these recipes!) and trim the root.
  • Peel the beets. Completely peel the beets with a vegetable peeler.
  • Cut. The beets should be in 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes. To get even-sized beet cubes, cut the beets first into 1/2-inch-thick rounds, then cut each round into 1/2 thick strips. The strips can then be cut down in 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes.
  • Roast. Place the cut beets on a lined sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake another 15 minutes. They may need another 5-10 minutes, depending on the size they were cut, actual oven temperature, and how spaced out the beets are.

For best results, I recommend roasting the beets on a 15×21-inch sheet pan. The bigger pan will ensure the beets aren’t overlapping which will give you perfectly caramelized beets. If the beets are crowded on the pan and overlapping, they will steam instead of roast and end up less flavorful in this Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad.

Overhead image of the beet goat cheese walnut salad freshly dressed and ready to be eaten

Overhead image of the beet goat cheese walnut salad freshly dressed and ready to be eaten

Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad Storage

Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad doesn’t sit or store well after it’s made. Once assembled, the salad needs to be eaten soon after; otherwise the dressing wilts the greens and the walnuts soften.

To make ahead: Prepare everything (make the dressing, toast the walnuts, chop the beets) but store ingredients separately in the fridge. Toss everything together right before serving!

The dressing only gets more flavorful as it sits, so it does great being made ahead of time! That said, the shallot flavor does get more intense in the dressing, so, instead, we recommend adding the shallot to the dressing right before serving. Dressing can be made 3-4 days in advance (without the shallot). Simply store in a mason jar and thoroughly shake to recombine before adding to the salad. If the cooled dressing forms clumps, don’t be alarmed, this is just olive oil solidifying which it does at cold temperatures. Let dressing stand at room temperature for 20 or so minutes and then shake to recombine.

More recipes using beets

Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad

This Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad with a light honey dijon vinaigrette is so quick & easy to make and the perfect addition to the dinner table. It pairs well with so many different main dishes or make it a big dinner salad by adding some grilled chicken or steak.

Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad

This Beet Goat Cheese Walnut Salad with a light honey dijon vinaigrette is so quick & easy to make and the perfect addition to the dinner table. It pairs well with so many different main dishes or make it a big dinner salad by adding some grilled chicken or steak.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. store-bought beets Note 1
  • 1/3 cup (49g) chopped walnuts Note 2
  • 1 package (5.5 oz.; 156g) mixed greens Note 3
  • 1/3 cup (49g) crumbled goat cheese (or feta)

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons (38g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (20g) honey
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons (21g) red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
  • Fine sea salt & pepper

Instructions

  • DRESSING: Start with the dressing so it has time to chill and get more flavorful. Combine all the ingredients in a wide-mouth mason jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, I add 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Shake until well combined. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

  • SALAD: On a dark plastic cutting board (beets stain wood boards), chop up the beets. Toast walnuts if desired (Note 2) and let cool. Add greens to a large bowl and top with goat cheese and walnuts.

  • ENJOY: Drizzle dressing over salad (Read instruction 4 first). We like all of the dressing on the salad, but you may not want to use it all. Gently toss salad and serve on plates. Add beets to individual plates (if you toss the beets in the salad it will dye everything pink!)

  • STORAGE: Dressed salad doesn’t sit well, so if you want to have leftovers or make ahead, store the dressing separately from the salad.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Beets: To save loads of time here (roasting beets are easy– but time-consuming) we choose already cooked beets from the produce section of the store (We love Love Beets™ plain beets best in this salad!). If you’d prefer to roast your own beets, check out the section in the post “How to Roast Beets”. 4 ounces beets is about 2-3 roasted beets.

Note 2: Walnuts: To save time & effort, we grab already chopped walnuts. You can grab dry roasted and salted too for more flavor and no additional work. If you have raw walnuts, you can toast them for more flavor — place the walnuts in a single layer in a heavy skillet (you don’t need to add anything else) and stir them around on medium-low heat. It only takes about 2-3 minutes (sometimes less depending on how much heat they are getting) until they are toasted and smelling quite fragrant. Make sure you are stirring them around and watching constantly so they don’t have a chance to burn!

Note 3: Mixed greens: To make this salad quick & easy grab a medley of lettuce blends (these mixes are already washed and ready to eat!) We use a blend of baby lettuce blend, baby greens, and baby spinach.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.7g | Protein: 4.4g | Fat: 13.9g | Cholesterol: 7.3mg | Sodium: 143.9mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4.6g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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