Beet, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad

Beet Goat Cheese and Walnut Salad

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Author: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, Extension Educator

Beet salads often command a fairly high price in restaurants. However, they are easy to make and many of the steps can be done earlier in the day:

  • Cook, peel and refrigerate the beets (covered).
  • Toast the walnuts
  • Make and refrigerate the salad dressing (covered).

If you don't care for goat cheese, this salad also tastes good without it.


For salad:

  • 6 medium or 3 large beets
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 pound salad greens (rinsed and then dried in a salad spinner or with paper towels), torn into pieces (equals about 6 cups)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (optional)

For dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion, finely chopped
  • Dash of salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Cut off all but 1 to 2 inches of the beet stems and leave the root on the bottom. This helps retain the flavor and minimizes the amount of color that bleeds out during cooking.
  2. Gently wash the beets, trying not to break the skin. Place beets in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover saucepan, and bring water to a boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer until beets are tender. Small beets may cook in as little as 20 minutes; large beets may take an hour or more. Test for tenderness by sticking the edge of a sharp knife through to the center of a beet.
  3. Plunge beets into cold water to cool. Rub the skins off with your hands — it may work best to do this under running water. Wearing clean, kitchen gloves will prevent your hands from becoming stained. I like to keep some of the inexpensive disposable, plastic gloves on hand for tasks such as this. Cut beets into chunks.
  4. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet at medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove them immediately when they become fragrant and just begin to darken.
  5. Combine the salad greens and the walnuts. Make the salad dressing by combining all the ingredients and shaking in a small jar with a tightly closed lid or mixing with a wire whip until the dressing becomes thick and creamy.
  6. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the salad dressing. Mix the rest of the dressing with the salad greens and walnuts. In a separate bowl, combine the reserved dressing with the beets.
  7. Arrange the salad greens on 4 to 6 salad plates. Top with the beets. Crumble the goat cheese on top. Serve soon after plating.

Makes 4 generous or 6 smaller servings