Arugula Beet Salad

This arugula beet salad is the perfect easy side dish! It features vibrant beets, toasted walnuts, and a zingy citrus vinaigrette dressing.

Arugula beet salad

Here’s a green salad idea that’s flavorful and versatile: arugula beet salad! It features jewel-toned roasted beets with baby arugula, all covered in a zingy citrus vinaigrette. Add thin-sliced shallots and toasted walnuts, and it tastes sophisticated with minimal effort. Shhh: here’s our secret! Alex and I made this with those precooked beets you can find in many stores these days. Usually we roast our own…but it saved a massive amount of time. Either way: this salad needs to be part of your side dish repertoire!

An even easier arugula salad? Try Easy Arugula Salad.

What’s in this arugula beet salad?

This arugula beet salad recipe is an exercise in essentialism. What is absolutely essential to a beet salad, and what can we live without to keep it simple? Alex and I played around with a few variables for this salad, and came up with classic flavor combinations that taste incredible. Beets, citrus, and walnuts are a classic combo: but they taste better than expected every time. It’s plant based (WFPB), so there’s not even a need for cheese. Here’s what’s in this salad recipe:

  • Beets: Tender, vibrant beets steal the show! See below on various ways to cook them.
  • Baby arugula: Baby is a must! It’s feathery and tender, the perfect salad base.
  • Citrus vinaigrette: This Citrus Vinaigrette is made with both orange and lemon for double the zing.
  • Toasted walnuts & sliced shallot: Walnuts bring protein and crunch! Shallots bring in a savory note.
  • Orange zest: The icing on the cake, it adds an extra tang and visual element.
How to cook beets

Ways to cook beets (& an easy shortcut!)

Here’s the thing: Alex and I are beet purists. We love buying fresh beets and roasting them up, especially from the farmers market! But in the past few years, we’ve noticed packaged pre-cooked beets are pretty easy to find in our local grocery. Cut out 1 hour of roasting time? Yes, please! If you’re not able to find pre-cooked beets, it’s still nice to whip up your beets ahead of time and refrigerate until serving. Here are the ways you can prepare your beets:

  • Pre-cooked packaged (0 minutes!): Pre-boiled packaged beets make this salad a breeze! If you can find them in your local grocery, they’re worth snagging a package.
  • Instant Pot beets (25 minutes): The next fastest way to cook beets is in your Instant Pot! Go to Instant Pot Beets.
  • Oven roasted beets (1 hour): The classic way to prepare beets is to bake them! Roast them in advance and refrigerate for easiest prep. Go to Oven Roasted Beets.
Arugula beet salad

Baby arugula is a must!

Use baby arugula for this beet salad. Don’t even think about standard arugula! Here’s how to know the difference:

  • Baby arugula: Baby arugula is tender, with a mild flavor and a fluffy texture. It’s usually sold in bags or boxes. Make sure it looks just like the arugula in the photo.
  • Standard arugula: Standard is much larger and is usually sold in bunches. It has a much stronger peppery flavor, and sometimes the stems are tougher. It’s not as good for a salad like this one: but it would be good sauteed.

You can find baby arugula in lots of mainstream groceries here in the US! It’s also available at farmers markets. As a rule of thumb: if it is sold as a bunch, stay away.

Citrus Salad Dressing

A citrus dressing you’ll want to put on everything

This zingy citrus salad dressing is where it’s at! It’s got fresh lemon juice, orange juice, and orange zest, and it’s perfectly balanced. Alex and I originally made it for this fennel orange salad, and it’s so refreshing we want to use it on everything! Here are a few tools that are helpful for working with citrus:

  • Use a juicer for juicing. A juicer is helpful for citrus to quickly juice it and keep the seeds out. (Anytime we try it with our hands, we get seeds in whatever we’re making!) The juicer we use works great.
  • A microplane or grater. A microplane makes quick work of zesting. If you don’t have one, use a grater. Smaller zesters that are more like bar tools don’t work as well here. Here’s more on How to Zest an Orange.

Want a few more salad dressings? Try our How to Make Healthy Salad Dressing.

Arugula Beet Salad

Ways to serve this arugula beet salad

This arugula beet salad goes well with Italian recipes, Mediterranean meals, or as a side for soup. It has a fall and winter vibe, so it would work for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Here are a few ways to serve it:

  1. Salmon. Try with Lemon Dill Salmon or Baked Salmon with Capers.
  2. Pasta. Try it with Roasted Eggplant PastaBaked Rigatoni, Best Vegan Lasagna, or Creamy Cavatappi.
  3. Pizza. Try it with Healthy Pizza, Mushroom Pizza or Truffle Pizza.
  4. Soup. Pair with Wild Rice Soup, Pasta e Ceci (Italian Chickpea Soup), or Broccoli Potato Soup.
  5. Vegan Mains. It’s a vegan salad and pairs well with Vegan Shepherd’s Pie or Vegan Pot Pie.

This arugula beet salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Arugula beet salad

Easy Arugula Beet Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes*
  • Total Time: 59 minute
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This arugula beet salad is the perfect easy side dish! It features vibrant beets, toasted walnuts, and a zingy citrus vinaigrette dressing.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 medium beets or cooked packaged beets
  • 1 recipe Citrus Salad Dressing
  • 1 shallot
  • 5 ounces (8 cups) baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Orange zest, to garnish (from the dressing)

Instructions

  1. Use cooked packaged beets for the easiest prep. Or cook the beets using the instructions in Oven Roasted Beets or Instant Pot Beets. Slice the beets into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a medium bowl, make the Citrus Vinaigrette.
  3.  In a small skillet, toast the walnuts over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and toasted. Thinly slice the shallot.
  4. Place the greens on a plate. Top with the sliced shallot and walnuts. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Notes

*Cook time assumes starting with pre-cooked beets since it varies based on cooking methods. Packaged boiled beets are the quickest! If you do cook your own beets, oven roasting takes about 1 hour and Instant Pot takes about 25 minutes.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Plant Based

Keywords: Arugula Beet Salad

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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