Vibrant and bold, this roast beetroot feta salad has it all. It’s got flavour, simplicity, texture and beauty all in one dish. Oh, and lets not forget the most delicious vinaigrette recipe too – I’m now using the dressing on just about everything.
Prepare to see more salads coming to Sugar Salt Magic but I’m not talking rabbit food here. In my world, salads need to be flavoursome and substantial, just like this warm potato asparagus salad or spiced roast sweet potato salad.
Let’s start here with the wonderful combination of naturally sweet beetroot and smooth, salty feta. These two were made to be together – make this salad and try to deny it.
Now add some crunchy nuts, fresh salad leaves and an easy salad dressing and you have a kicking salad you’ll be proud to serve up everywhere.
What you’ll need
Just a small number of ingredients in this dish allow each and every one of them to shine.
- Beetroot (2): the star of the show. The earthiness of roasted beetroots really shines but you can corner-cut here if you like – this is really good using vac-packed beetroots that are already cooked for you too. Don’t use tinned beetroots as they come packed in pickling juices, which would add a competing flavour element.
- Feta (5): Danish is best, though any will work. The Danish style feta, as shown in the main photos, tends to be much smoother in both texture and flavour. The one shown above is a crumbly feta, so use your preference.
- Rocket (Arugula) (6): This peppery leaf is all you need. You can swap it for baby spinach if you prefer.
- Walnuts (4): They have a slightly bitter flavour which goes well here and the crunch is the perfect textural addition. Other nuts will also work – try roughly chopped almonds.
- Pomgranate arils (seeds): Optional but absolutely delicious, these give a little pop of juice and sweetness and they look like little jewels.
- The easy salad dressing: I currently want to drench everything in this mixture of olive oil (8), balsamic vinegar (3), maple syrup (1) and Dijon mustard (7).
Handy tools to have
- Baking tray: really the only equipment you need aside from a really pretty serving bowl to serve it up in.
How to roast beetroot
There are many ways to cook beetroot, but roasting is a favourite for good reason. It brings out the earthiness of this hearty root veg and all the flavour stays in the vegetable.
- Take 3 large beetroot (or the equivalent weight in small ones), scrub them well all over, then cut off the stems and roots.
- Cut each one in roughly 2 inch size pieces (2-3 pieces each), then wrap them all up loosely in a large sheet of aluminium foil.
- Roast in a hot oven for 45-60 minutes. They’re cooked, when a fork or skewer can easily pierce into the flesh.
- As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, don some latex gloves and peel away and discard the skin.
Feel free to use whatever size beetroot you can get your hands on. If you use small ones, you won’t need to cut them in half, but you will need more of them. I would say 1 large beetroot is equivalent to 3 small.
The best salad dressing ever
Big call? Maybe, but with 4 ingredients and the perfect balance of sweet and tart, this dressing works well on a variety of salads.
And what could be easier than combining ingredients in small glass jar, screw on the lid and shaking vigorously? Job done.
The result is a syrupy balsamic dressing that’s perfect amounts tangy and sweet and thick enough to grip the salad leaves so you don’t end up with a puddle at the bottom of the bowl.
Assembling the salad
Another wonderful feature of this beetroot feta salad is the ability to prep it 2-3 days ahead of time.
- Roast, peel and chop the beetroot and place it in a covered bowl.
- Mix up the salad dressing in a small jar.
- Wash the salad leaves, shake them dry and place them in the serving bowl with a double layer of paper towel at the bottom.
- Remove the seeds of the pomegranate from the skin and place them in an airtight container.
Place all the components in the fridge for up to 2-3 days prior to serving.
When it comes time to serve, remove the paper towel and dress the leaves in the dressing. Scatter the beetroot pieces, walnuts and pomegranate seeds over the top. Break up the feta into large chunks and scatter that over too.
Tips and tricks
- Make sure to peel them while warm. I find a fork in one hand is helpful to get under the edge of the skin. You can use gloves but if you work quickly they won’t stain your hands too much.
- Don’t dress until ready to serve. The light leaves will slowly being to wilt once they’ve been dressed so it’s best to dress them and pile it all together.
- Prep it ahead. Get all the components ready 2-3 days prior, then assemble right before you serve.
Can you freeze beetroot?
Yes, once cooked, the beetroot can be frozen easily for 3-4 months in an airtight bag or container.
How to store it
Once dressed the leaves will begin to wilt so they won’t keep quite so well. Everything else will keep fine for a few days, so you could remove that and discard the leaves.
Alternatively, don’t dress the leaves and allow your guests to dress their own salad at the table.
This salad is just as satisfying on it’s own as it is served as a side dish. It’s great with grilled meats right through to a roast and this vibrant salad will make a stunning side to a festive meal too.
More recipes you’ll love
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Simple Potato Salad
- Garlic Butter Potatoes with Crispy Prosciutto
- Sizzler Cheese Toast
- How to make Chicken Schnitzel
- Spiced Roast Sweet Potato Salad
- Asparagus, Rocket and Parmesan Salad
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Roasted Beetroot Feta Salad
- 3 large raw beetroot
- 3 big handfuls rocket
- 75 g Danish feta
- 2 tablespoons walnuts (notes)
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate arils seeds, optional (notes)
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (notes)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (notes)
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Baking tray or casserole dish
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 395F / 180C fan forced
- Scrub the beetroot, then cut them in half. Line a casserole dish with a sheet of aluminium foil, twice it’s length. Place the beetroot in the middle and wrap the foil around them.
- Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soft enough to poke a fork in.
- While the beets are roasting, combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake well to combine. Set aside.
- Open up the foil parcel and let them cool just enough to handle.
- Put on some latex food-safe gloves and peel away the skin. A fork will help. Cut them into large bite-sized chunks.
- Place the rocket into a serving bowl and drizzle over half the dressing. Toss to coat. Check the flavour and add a little more if desired, saving some to drizzle over the beetroot.
- Add the beetroot over the top of the rocket, and drizzle a little more dressing over.
- Crumble over the feta in large pieces, along with walnuts and the pomegranate seeds if using.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons)
- Don’t dress the salad leaves until the last minute.
- If you can’t find large beetroot, you can use 9-10 small ones or 5-6 medium sized.
- Danish feta is best but any will work. You could also use goats cheese.
- You can prep all components ahead of time 2-3 days.
- Wash and dry the salad leaves and place on a double layer of paper towel in the serving bowl. Cover.
- Store the cooked beetroot in an airtight container.
- Do the same with the pomegranate seeds.
- The dressing can sit in a screw top jar.
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