This Arugula Beet Salad is the perfect combination of sweet and peppery flavors. Tossed with crunchy candied pecans, creamy feta and an easy balsamic dressing, this flavorful healthy salad recipe is restaurant quality worthy!

Even if you don’t love beets, this salad will win you over! Next up, try Instant pot beets, beets with goat cheese and pine nuts, and Ukrainian borscht!

beet salad with arugula

I make this arugula beet salad strictly for adults because my kids are not fans of beets…or peppery arugula – and neither are lots of people. Good thing is it comes together in minutes even on a busy night and I find it delicious.

I love a flavor-packed arugula salad, but with the addition of earthy beets and creamy feta or goat cheese – it’s taken to another level. I consider this a special treat salad, for those days when something simple like lettuce salad recipe won’t quite cut it.

Why Make Arugula Beet Salad Recipe?

  • Meal preppable: Which comes in handy at the holidays! You can cook beets and prepare the dressing in advance and then refrigerate for up to 5 days. 
  • Holiday salad: An easy salad that is impressive for any Thanksgiving or celebration table. 
  • Nutritional powerhouse: Beets contain folate, manganese and copper which is important for energy production! Arugula is high in folate as well as vitamins K and C. 
  • Flavorful combination: In every forkful this salad is creamy, tangy, earthy and peppery with a crunch of sweetness from the pecans. 

If you love ditching ‘normal boring lettuce’ in salad like I do, try spinach salad recipe and lemon kale salad!

beet salad recipe with arugula and feta

Ingredients for Arugula Beet Salad

What I love about this beet salad recipe how simple and yet flavorful its ingredients are. I am always trying to use less ingredients because “busy life”.

  • Arugula: This zesty green (also called rocket) complements sweet and hearty beets the best. Baby spinach would work as well- like I have for this spinach strawberry salad.
  • Beets: Red or golden beets are both great.
  • Pecans: Almonds, pine nuts or walnuts can be substituted.
  • Cheese: Soft cheese like feta or goat cheese adds creamy texture, a nice balance to sweet pecans and crumbles easily.
  • Dressing: Simple and quick balsamic olive oil based beet salad dressing “seals the deal” here.
arugula pecans beets feta cheese

How to Cook Beets for Salad

  • In Instant Pot: Follow this Instant Pot beets recipe for quick and mess free beets. Magical pressure cooker means they are ready in 30 minutes without any smell or mess.
  • On the stove: Growing up in Ukraine my grandma always boiled beets which seemed like hours haha. “Oh, beets? Right! Will be ready tonight.” Main tip is to place beets in large enough pot so they are completely covered with water. Then boil for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender.
  • In the oven: I recommend not to roast beets in aluminum foil as it leaches harmful chemicals once heated. Instead, line a Dutch oven with parchment paper and roast beets covered for 50-60 minutes in preheated 400 degrees F oven.

beets in instant pot for cooking for salad

How to Make Arugula Beet Salad

  • Cook beets choosing 1 of 3 cooking methods listed above. After they are cooled, peel then chop- I like mandarin slices but you can slice/dice however you like.

To easily peel beets, use paper towel or parchment paper and scrub beets with it. I am not a fan of using plastic gloves for environmental reasons. Yes, your hands may be a little ‘red’ but it washes off rather quickly.

  • Make candied pecans: Just add pecans to a skillet, toast until fragrant and stir in maple syrup. Hot skillet will caramelize maple syrup sugars and you won’t be able to stop yourself from sneaking a few.
  • Make balsamic dressing: Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, garlic powder and pepper. Freshly cracked black pepper goes so well in this salad. And garlic powder adds garlick-y flavor without overpowering the salad. This rocket salad can be a holiday potluck salad or everyday office lunch (that your co-workers will envy!). 🙂
  • Combine: Lay greens on the bottom of the bowl, beets on top, sprinkle with pecans and feta, and drizzle dressing on top.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

Want a few more salad dressings? Try our any of my favorite healthy homemade salad dressings!

  • Cheese: Goat cheese, freshly grated parmesan or even a blue cheese.
  • Nuts: Walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachio’s or even go nut free with sunflower seeds.
  • Salad greens: You can swap arugula for baby spinach, or even do a combination of the two.
  • Sugar free: Use your favorite liquid sugar replacement or just toast the nuts.
  • Dairy free: Omit the cheese or use your favorite dairy free cheese (Violife vegan feta is a good brand).
  • Avocado: Diced or sliced avocado is always a good addition to a healthy salad!
  • Fresh herbs: Mincing some fresh herbs and adding them to your greens can be a flavor booster! I recommended using parsley.
  • Red onion: Enhances the salad with its pungent savory taste. Too pungent for you? Tried pickled red onion with my quick recipe I use in pork carnitas.
  • Zest: Another flavor booster is to add some citrus zest (orange or lemon) to the salad when you are tossing it.
  • Fresh fruit: Sliced or chopped apples or pears.

Tips for Best Results

  • Baby arugula vs. mature arugula: Baby arugula is tender and mild vs mature arugula that is larger and tougher, with a much stronger flavor. I use baby arugula! 
  • Fresh cheese: Whether you use feta or goat cheese (or another), buy the log / block and cut off or crumble only what you need not only for taste reasons but also because pre-packed contains anti-caking agents.
  • Use a large bowl for tossing: At least 25% larger than the ingredients you plan to toss together.
  • Add smaller items last: Cheese, pecans, beets or any other additions always will find a way to the bottom. Add them after you toss the greens with dressing.
  • Toss with your hands: Greens are delicate! If you don’t mind getting a little messy, use your hands for tossing rather than tongs.
  • Test beets for doneness: If a knife pierces the flesh without much resistance, beets are ready. It should feel like cutting soft butter.

beets being checked for done after instant pot cooking

FAQs

What pairs well with beets?

Well this salad is wonderful with beets! You may also like them with pine nuts and goat cheese. They are lovely with roasted sweet potatoes or honey garlic stovetop butternut squash. Serve as side with any of your favorite protein such as baked chicken or salmon.

Is arugula the same as rocket?

Yes! This salad green is also called roquette (French), salad rocket, garden rocket, or rugula depending on where you are located in the world. No matter the name though, it refers the green salad leaf that has a slight peppery taste.

Is arugula a superfood?

Superfood or super green, this salad green is high in vitamin K and A. Also, a great source of antioxidants carotenoids and flavonoids.

Can you use frozen, thawed beets for arugula salad?

I have not tested that, but I think most frozen beets still need to be roasted. If they are cooked, you could try them. If they need to be cooked, roast them using the method I listed in the recipe card and add them to the salad.

Can this be arugula beet salad vegan?

Yes, either omit the cheese and add avocado or substitute with your favorite non dairy cheese.

Could I make this salad to eat warm?

I guess you could, I find it best cold, but you could add the warm beets to the greens and eat immediately.

What can I add to this beet salad with arugula to make it a full meal?

To make a big salad meal, add Instant Pot shredded chicken breast or during the holidays it is perfect with leftover turkey.

Can I make golden beet arugula salad?

Yes! Golden beets taste amazing and if you can find them they tend to not be as earthy tasting as red beets. Golden beets would be very pretty to use in the autumn!

beets pecans and arugula in salad bowl for rocket salad

How to Serve Arugula Salad Recipe?

Dress salad before serving as arugula tends to wilt right away. Enjoy this salad cold or with warm beets. Either way it is delightful!

How to Store Beet Salad with Feta?

Storing: Refrigerate leftover salad covered for up to 6 hours. This beet salad tastes best fresh or at least same day.

How to Make Ahead Beet and Arugula Salad?

Make ahead: Make and store beets and beet salad dressing up to 5 days in advance. If oil solidifies, place dressing in a bowl with hot water for 5 minutes. Up to 24 hours in advance, you can combine salad ingredients without dressing and store covered in the refrigerator. Store candied pecans in a dry place to preserve their crunch.

More Hearty Healthy Salad Recipes

beet salad recipe with feta cheese
beet salad

Arugula Beet Salad

This Arugula Beet Salad is the perfect combination of sweet and peppery flavors. Tossed with crunchy candied pecans, creamy feta and an easy balsamic dressing, this flavorful salad is restaurant quality worthy!
5 from 2 votes
Servings 6 (side dish)
Calories 384
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Beet Salad:

  • 2 lbs beets
  • 5 oz arugula
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans or walnuts
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup feta or goat cheese crumbled

Balsamic Dressing:

Instructions 

Cook Beets in Instant Pot: 

  • Wash beets and trim off the root part and the leafy and top part. I used medium to large beets. To make sure they cook evenly, I cut large beets in half.
  • In Instant Pot, add 1 cup water. Place beets into a steamer basket and inside the Instant Pot. If you don’t have a basket yet, add trivet and place beets on top.
  • Close the lid, turn pressure valve to Sealing and cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Release pressure immediately using Quick Release method and open the lid.
  • Test beets for doneness by poking with the knife. If the knife pierces flesh without much resistance, beets are ready. It should feel like cutting soft butter. If not, close the lid and cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Cool off beets under cold running water for a few seconds right in the basket. And then a little bit more until safe to handle. If not using steamer basket, use tongs and remove into a bowl. The goal is to remove beets from hot Instant Pot to cool off faster.
  • To peel beets, use paper towel or parchment paper and scrub beets with it. Peel should slide off. I am not a fan of using plastic gloves for environmental reasons.

Cook Beets on the Stove:

  • Wash beets and trim off the root part and the leafy and top part. I used medium to large beets. To make sure they cook evenly, I cut large beets in half.
  • Add beets to a medium pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cove with lid and cook for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Drain beats and let cool until safe to handle.
  • To peel beets, use paper towel or parchment paper and scrub beets with it. Peel should slide off.

Roast Beets

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash beets and trim off the root part and the leafy and top part.
  • Line cast iron pan or Dutch oven with parchment paper, place beets on top and cover.
  • Roast for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Let cool until safe to handle.
  • To peel beets, use paper towel or parchment paper and scrub beets with it. Peel should slide off.

Make Beet Salad with Arugula and Feta

  • Cut cooked beets into desired size and shape slices. I like mandarin type of slices.
  • In a large skillet, add pecans and toast on medium heat for 5 minutes or until fragrant, stirring often. Turn off the heat and add maple syrup. Stir until nuts are all coated.
  • In a small bowl, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, pepper and whisk with a fork until well combined.
  • In a large salad bowl, add arugula, beets, pecans, crumbled feta and dressing. Mix gently with tongs until well combined.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate leftover salad covered for up to 6 hours. Arugula wilts, so it is best consumed same day.
  • Baby arugula vs. mature arugula: Baby arugula is tender and mild vs mature arugula that is larger and tougher, with a much stronger flavor. I use baby arugula! 
  • Use a large bowl for tossing: At least 25% larger than the ingredients you plan to toss together.
  • Add smaller items last: Cheese, pecans, beets or any other additions always will find a way to the bottom. Add them after you toss the greens with dressing.
  • Toss with your hands: Greens are delicate! If you don’t mind getting a little messy, use your hands for tossing rather than tongs.
  • Salad greens: You can swap arugula for baby spinach, or even do a combination of the two.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 294mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 19g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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