Beet Salad with Arugula and Balsamic Dressing

An easy beet salad with arugula, pecans, gorgonzola and a delicious balsamic dressing. Perfect as a side 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 going with arugula as the base and adding gorgonzola cheese, toasted pecans and a balsamic vinegar salad dressing. Easy, fresh, filling and absolutely delicious. 

Rectangle serving tray and wooden spoon with arugula and beet salad topped with pecans and gorgonzola cheese.

Health Benefits of Beets

Beets are amazing — not only are they rich in potassium, which is one of the main minerals responsible for muscle contraction (including the contraction of the heart), but a diet rich in beets and other potassium-rich foods can help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

They’ve also been shown to increase exercise performance. The natural nitrates in beets increase nitric oxide, a molecule that lowers blood pressure and widens blood vessels. This widening of the blood vessels increases blood flow and reduces the oxygen needed by muscles, allowing them to work more efficiently and perform the same amount of work with less oxygen. Many runners and cyclists often consume beet juice before races to improve their stamina! 

Pretty incredible, huh?

Arugula and beet salad topped with pecans and gorgonzola cheese.

Boiled Beets for Salad

For this salad, I decided to use boiled beets because if I’m being honest, sometimes roasted beets are kind of a pain (and a mess) to make.

Plus, boiling beets is super easy. Place washed and trimmed beets in a large saucepan, add water to cover, as well as, a little lemon juice or vinegar. The lemon juice or vinegar help to prevent the beets from bleeding. 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.

Balsamic dressing being poured over an arugula salad with beets, pecans and gorgonzola.

How to Make an Easy Beet Salad

This beet salad doesn’t get much easier. Once your beets are cooked, you’ll toast your pecans on the stovetop, stirring frequently and prep your salad dressing. Mixing all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender. Slowly add in the olive oil to mix. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Prep=done!

To make the salad, add your arugula, cooked beets, pecans and gorgonzola to a large serving dish or salad bowl. Top with the balsamic dressing and enjoy! 

Swaps for this Salad

  • I love the peppery taste of the arugula in this salad, but you can certainly use another green. Baby spinach or baby kale would work great.
  • If you want to save time, you can buy pre-cooked beets and use a healthy store-bought dressing. For the pre-cooked beets, 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. 
  • For the cheese, I love using gorgonzola, but crumbled feta cheese also works great.
  • Toasted pecans are lovely on this salad, but if you want a treat and have time to make them, these candied pecans would be delicious on the salad as well. You can also use toasted walnuts.
  • Top this salad with protein for a full meal. My apple cider vinegar chicken would be delicious on this, but you could also add cooked quinoa or lentils for a vegetarian option.

Regtangle serving tray and wooden spoon with arugula and beet salad topped with pecans and gorgonzola cheese.

Are You a Salad Lover? You’ll Love These:

If you make this beet salad, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other readers who are thinking about making the recipe. 

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Arugula and beet salad topped with pecans and gorgonzola cheese.

Beet Salad


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

An easy beet salad with arugula, pecans, gorgonzola and a delicious balsamic dressing. Perfect as a side or topped with protein for a meal sized salad.


Ingredients

  • 1 (1 lb) bunch beets (about 4 medium beets), washed and trimmed*
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1/3 cup raw pecans*
  • 2 (5 oz) packages baby arugula 
  • 23 ounces gorgonzola cheese (feta cheese also works great)
  • balsamic dressing

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Notes

  • 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.
  • Feel free to use candied pecans for extra sweetness. My rosemary candied pecans would be great.
  • To make this a salad a meal, top with my apple cider vinegar chicken.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Calories: 370
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Fat: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 11g

Keywords: beet salad

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    17 comments
    1. tanya
      May 6, 2020 AT 9:02 am

      Beets are great and this salad is beautiful to see. I would suggest sticking with roasted beets as all that boiling and washing destroys so much of the nutrtional value of the beets. I go for as much raw as possible. My best choice is for fermenting the beets by the quart as they keep in the refrig for months and will always be ready for a quick salad with all the benefits of the raw veggie plus the added probiotics. Now that would be a really healthy salads.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 6, 2020 AT 10:21 am

        Love the idea of using fermented beets for the extra health benefits! Thanks for the tips, Tanya!

    2. emma @ be mom strong
      February 28, 2014 AT 6:29 am

      Hi Brittany!
      Love mixing beets with quinoa! Beets are a current pregnancy craving of mine- which is good, except that my pee is constantly purple! TMI?!
      We still need to meet up in this little ol’ city! Hope you’re doing well!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 28, 2014 AT 2:25 pm

        haha. I know exactly what you mean about peeing purple. 🙂

        And yes, we do still need to meet!!!!

    3. Heide M.
      February 28, 2014 AT 12:31 am

      Your salad looks wonderful.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 28, 2014 AT 2:19 pm

        Thanks Heide!!

    4. Kira – The Healthable Old Soul
      February 28, 2014 AT 12:11 am

      So colorful! Colorful salads with beets are beautiful and so nutritious!

    5. Ceara @ Ceara’s Kitchen
      February 27, 2014 AT 11:38 am

      I am so having this for dinner this evening! I always have lots of beets on hand! Thanks for the beautiful recipe !

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 28, 2014 AT 2:17 pm

        Yay! I hope you enjoyed it Ceara.

    6. Amy @ Cultivate Beauty
      February 26, 2014 AT 6:45 pm

      Excellent idea! Quinoa salad is a favourite at our house – so I will have to try adding some beetroot next time. I never realised it was such a powerhouse vegetable! 🙂

    7. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun
      February 25, 2014 AT 7:22 pm

      That looks like a beautiful salad! I have tried to like beets but I just can’t get into it! Looks wonderful though!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 28, 2014 AT 2:16 pm

        I feel ya. I think they are a love it or hate it kind of vegetable. Have you tried them roasted though? That’s the best way!!

    8. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
      February 25, 2014 AT 7:10 pm

      That is one seriously gorgeous salad!!!

    9. Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run
      February 25, 2014 AT 4:14 pm

      Mmmm, I love beets!

      Just curious, did you use Social Spark for this collaboration with Love Beets? I’m curious about the program if so.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 27, 2014 AT 9:16 pm

        Hey Hillary. I did. This was actually my first time using Social Spark so I’m a newbie but feel free to ask me any questions you have about the program. 🙂

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