Arugula, Roasted Beet, and Goat Cheese Salad

With just a little prep work done in advance, you can manifest a gorgeous bowl of elevated greens that taste totally restaurant-worthy.

Vertical image of a white plate topped with greens, vegetables, and crumbled cheese, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Leave the bottled dressings behind, skip the premade, DIY salad kits from the grocery store, and say hello to our fresh blend of arugula with roasted, marinated beets and creamy goat cheese.

Sounds fancy, right? Yep. And difficult to make? Nah.

When I think back on the most noteworthy salads I have eaten, they’re actually simple to prepare and assemble, and all have several things in common.

Each has a combination of contrasting textures and colors. And each recipe features just one or two ingredients that are exceptionally bold standouts, which boost the salad to its full potential.

Vertical image of a white plate with a mixture of greens, roasted vegetables, nuts, and crumbled chevre in front of a wooden bowl.

I don’t mean a carrot that’s sliced in a special way or a radish that’s been carved into a rose. It could be fresh lobster quickly boiled until soft and succulent, a uniquely savory granola as a final touch, or in the case of this recipe, earthy roasted beets marinated in tangy balsamic vinegar and delicate olive oil.

But wait! There’s more!

I don’t throw away the marinade – it actually doubles as the simple vinaigrette for this salad! See how a little forethought goes a long way?

Marinating the beets in this mixture draws out their lush crimson juices, creating a dressing that’s not only rich in flavor, but with vibrant color too.

Well, depending on the type of beets you choose, of course.

I love the loud hue of the red roots, but golden beets are equally radiant here. Roasting and peeling them is a cinch, so all you’re left with is the fun part of deciding how to slice them before they marinate.Vertical image of a mixed salad in a big wooden bowl.

Whether you go with half-moons, thin rounds, or chunks, it’s a choose-your-own-shape adventure.

Crisp, peppery arugula adds sharpness, but if you’re a spinach enthusiast or happen to be crazy for kale, feel free to use your favorite leafy greens as your base.

Toasted walnuts provide crunch and nuttiness, while chewy, dried cranberries have a tartness that echoes the tanginess of the balsamic vinegar. With its bright flavors and creamy texture, a lightly aged goat cheese is always a game-changer when it comes to enjoying a bowlful of greens, and there’s a reason why you always spy it on a menu next to beets as well.

Although they’re yummy on their own, the earthy root veg really benefits from a little lift – the playful tang from a fresh goat cheese completes the job.

Vertical image of a decorative white plate with greens, nuts, and crumbled chevre.

Also, a nice wooden salad bowl screams, “I make salads all the time!” – even if you don’t.

By simply taking the time to enhance a few elements, and using fresh and flavorful ingredients, you can make, eat, and enjoy a restaurant-quality salad whenever you please, right at home!

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Horizontal image of a decorative white plate with greens, nuts, and crumbled chevre.

Arugula, Roasted Beet, and Goat Cheese Salad


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

This beet salad is anything but boring. It’s a bright blend of peppery arugula, toasted walnuts, tangy goat cheese, and dried cranberries.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 12 teaspoons honey, to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces arugula (about 4 cups lightly packed) 
  • 34 medium roasted beets (about 1 pound), peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Combine the vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisking as you pour, add the olive oil gradually in a thin stream and continue whisking until emulsified. Season with salt, pepper, and additional honey to taste, if using.
  2. Add the sliced beets, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove the beets from the dressing and set them aside on a plate.
  3. Place the arugula in a large serving bowl. Adding one tablespoon of dressing at a time, toss arugula to mix until coated well, or to your preference.
  4. Top with the reserved beets, walnuts, cranberries, and goat cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Salad

Keywords: arugula, roasted beets, goat cheese, walnut, balsamic vinegar

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Gather, Measure, and Prep Ingredients

Roast the beets if you haven’t already and slice them into bite-size pieces if they’re still whole. Give our recipe a peek for some tips on roasting and peeling your roots.

Horizontal image of a large wooden bowl with lettuce surrounded by other measured ingredients in small bowls.

Get out a large wooden salad bowl, a medium mixing bowl, and a whisk.

Measure the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and honey if you would like to use some for added sweetness. I recommend a flavorful, high quality extra-virgin olive oil for salad dressings. Measure the salt and pepper and keep them nearby to adjust the seasonings as needed.

Measure the arugula directly into your wooden salad bowl and return it to the fridge until you’re ready to dress the greens.

Measure and chop the walnuts or slivered almonds and measure the cranberries and goat cheese. If your goat cheese came in a log, you can crumble it into a bowl now, or wait to do it directly over the finished salads.

Step 2 – Make the Dressing

Add the vinegar, honey if using, salt, and pepper to the mixing bowl.

Horizontal image of whisking together a dressing in a metal bowl.

While whisking, slowly drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream into the dressing until it comes together. Dip a piece of arugula into the dressing and taste for seasoning and sweetness. If necessary, adjust by adding more salt, pepper, and/or honey.

Step 3 – Marinate the Beets and Toast the Nuts

Add the sliced beets directly to the dressing and toss to coat well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the beets marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Horizontal image of marinated chopped beets in a metal bowl.

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts.

Place a small dry skillet over medium-low heat and add the nuts. Shaking the pan occasionally to promote even browning, cook until golden and lightly toasted, for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Set the toasted walnuts aside in a bowl so they don’t continue to brown from the residual heat.

Step 4 – Toss the Greens, Finish the Salads, and Serve

Horizontal image of marinated beets over a wooden bowl filled with lettuce.

Remove the marinated beets from the fridge and use a slotted spoon to transfer them onto a plate.

Horizontal image of dressed lettuce in a wooden bowl.

Get the arugula out of the fridge. Using one tablespoon at a time, drizzle the balsamic dressing over the arugula, tossing and adding more until it’s coated to your liking. Feel free to use as much as you like, and save any that’s left over in the refrigerator for later use.

Vertical image of a mixed lettuce with assorted garnishes in a big wooden bowl.

Divide the dressed greens among plates and top with even portions of the reserved beets, toasted walnuts, cranberries, and crumbled goat cheese. Just before serving, season to taste again with salt and pepper if necessary.

Do I Have to Pair My Beets with Goat Cheese?

Look, it may be a classic combo, but if chèvre just doesn’t do it for you, no harm done.

No one says you have to be best friends with every cheese.

Horizontal image of a decorative white plate with greens, nuts, and crumbled chevre.

Like I mentioned before,  roasted beets are delightfully earthy and somewhat sweet, and pair well with bold, acidic cheeses. A bright, pungent cheese brings out the best in them, and briny feta or even an aged cheddar would work great in this recipe.

Will you let the beets mingle with fresh chèvre, or will you choose another cheese to use in the recipe? Share your best salad secrets in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

If you love arugula and its spicy attitude,  try these recipes that feature the tasty greens next:

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Jennifer Swartvagher on July 22, 2015. Last updated on October 24, 2022.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

20 thoughts on “Arugula, Roasted Beet, and Goat Cheese Salad”

  1. I am glad to see that you don’t suffer from as much inflammation and lost some weight as well. Being healthy and being able to enjoy whatever you make is a plus in my book.

    Reply
  2. Nice simple salad. I like arugula but I always have to mix it with some other greens since it is pretty bitter. Beets cooked that are hot or cold have such great taste to them. The health benefits are great too. They lower blood pressure. Combats inflammation in the body. The root has shown in studies to counteract cancer growth. Beets purify the liver and blood supporting detoxification. Arugula contains trace minerals and antioxidants that block absorption of contaminants that negatively effect your libido. Good one to feed your significant other if there is trouble in that department. I think I have noticed a difference in myself when I eat a lot of arugula. It was markedly different.

    Reply
  3. I’ve tasted a lot of lettuces, but I don’t think I’ve tried Arugula. I also have a lot of inflammation, and enjoy eating a variety of vegetables, and always use oil and vinegar on my salads these days. I like the composition of this one, it looks and sounds very tasty, and I’m now looking forward to trying out a new leafy green.

    Reply
  4. I have tried arugula in my salad before, but I usually cannot bear that without an extra helping of salad dressing (which is unfortunate, considering how unhealthy some of them are). However, I’m game to try new things, and beets would be a nice addition. Also, the balsamic vinegar and oil sounds healthier than store-bought dressings. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  5. I’ve never actually had arugula either. I do know it seems to be one of those love it or hate it veggies; I have a friend who falls into the former camp and one who falls into the latter. I think I’d enjoy it, especially with goat cheese. Time for me to try this out!

    Reply
  6. I was about to say I don’t think I’ve ever tried arugula either after reading some of the other comments, but after googling it to get a closer look at it, I realized I have, but never knew the name! I’ve always thought they looked like weeds, so when I saw them in my salads that’s what I would refer to them as. This looks like a nice, simple recipe to follow; one that would be a good appetizer, and I will admit I’ve never had beets in any dish other than oven roasted, so I am curious how they’ll taste in here. Thanks for sharing this one!

    Reply
  7. I love salads too, but I generally just stick to a Greek style (feta cheese, black olives, etc.). I’ve been meaning to try out a recipe including arugula soon, and this seems like a great idea! I absolutely love goat’s cheese and beets as well, so this sounds very appetizing to me. I’ve never added a sweetish element like cranberries to my salad before, so maybe it’s time to give it a go. Can’t wait to try this refreshing looking recipe out!

    Reply
    • The addition of cranberries, apples, or other sweet elements is delicious, especially when paired with goat cheese.

      Reply
  8. Beets are very under appreciated. They seem to come out for a feta salad from time to time but they also go great on a burger or just on their own and juice well also. Americans seem to not like the taste for the most part; I have never understood that.

    Reply
    • Beets have always been a favorite around here, especially with my little ones. I grew up eating beets, so it is no surprise.

      Reply
  9. Beets & goat cheese are delicious together. It’s my go to when using beets in a salad. However, I do prefer my beets pickled when in combination with the goat cheese. To be honest I prefer my them pickled more often than not. Lord knows it doesn’t help with salt intake but it’s delicious

    Reply
  10. People (such as yourself) have always said that arugula has a peppery taste…maybe I’m eating it wrong or not eating it by itself enough, but I can’t really find the taste that everyone talks about? But I have had my share of salads that sounds a lot like yours (except without the beet; I’m not a huge fan of that!) and I’ve always really enjoyed it.

    I see this type of leafy salad in “fancier” restaurants more often; is it because arugula is more expensive in general? The last time I had a full-on peppery salad such as yours was for my birthday at a super fancy restaurant (which of course they did a fantastic job with). And if this leafy green has more nutritional value than your regular ol’ lettuce, maybe I should switch up our veggies a little bit!

    Thank goodness for having a farmer’s market near me. Perhaps I’ll go look for some this week 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  11. These are all ingredients that are healthy amd make a great salad! And the goat cheese is great for those who can’t have cows milk. I recently tried it for the first time and was impressed! I’ve never eaten beets without them being pickled, so I’m curious as to how it will be. This salad looks so delicious and healthy, I can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  12. I can’t say I’ve ever seen arugula for sale in any of the sotres nearby but I do like the thought of the peppery taste which is being described. Whilst iceberg etc is great for texture, it adds little in flavour so it’s always good to get some new ideas. Cheers!

    Reply
  13. How can you go wrong with arugula and goats cheese. Such a savory combination. And, I really love this salad because you use beets. Beets are an awesome blood purifier. I will be trying out this salad soon!

    Reply
  14. Some of the ingredients I don’t like alone, but in this combination they may be good. I have been looking to add some variety to my salads, I eat one a day usually. I’ll give this a shot.

    Reply
  15. Glad I finally found a good salad recipe, I’ve been going crazy lately with my weight gain and diet, seems like this salad would be right up my alley with my current diet, although I think I have to not include the cheese and olive oil, those contain a lot of calories.

    Reply
  16. Seems like thisrecipe has a lot of aphrodisiac ingredients, for real. I’d really like to try this one, but it will be kinda hard to find all the ingredients, it would be really nice to try it. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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