Michaela’s Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Beets. They’re very much a “love ’em or leave ’em” vegetable. Speaking for myself…I could happily eat them any day of the week. I love their deep vibrant color, firm texture, and magnificently earthy flavor. When a menu features a beet salad, you’ll more than likely see it being delivered to my table.

This Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Dressing comes from Michaela, an architect and principal at SALA Architects, where I have worked for the past 13 years.

Maybe you’ve seen this stunning Craftsman style home before? It’s called the “Maple Forest”, and was designed by Michaela. This has been a wildly popular home plan, and is my very favorite design in her portfolio. (Maple Forest photo property of SALA Architects, by Phillip Mueller)

Maple Forest graces the cover of Michaela’s book, appropriately called Welcoming Home.

When I think of creatively gifted people, Michaela is up near the very top of the list. Besides being a highly successful architect, designing welcoming homes and commercial spaces across the United States, she also designs amazing art alongside her husband at Pegasus Studios.

Beyond that, there’s a whole slew of other fancies and hobbies she entertains as well… She has an amazing green thumb and a garden full of crazy huge hostas, handwriting so flattering that it’s graced wedding invitations and computerized fonts, and a natural knack for knitting intricate sweaters without a pattern.

And when it comes to dinner parties, Michaela has infinite flair. She visits Italy regularly with family and friends, and it’s obvious that she holds that country very close to her heart. Even though I’ve never been to Italy (on my bucket list!), I can feel its presence when Michaela entertains. From the music, wine, and laughter, to the simply prepared dishes bursting with fresh Italian flavors, spending time around Michaela’s inviting table is a true treat.

It was at Michaela’s home where I was introduced to her beet and arugula salad, a great big platter full of fearless flavor. The dish instantly intrigued me visually, with its varying textures and colors layered just so. With a drizzle of bold balsamic dressing and a sprinkling of salty blue cheese and candied pecans…I really had never seen anything like it. And once I tasted it, I knew my love for beets had been elevated to a new level.

This salad is hearty enough to be served as a main course for lunch, with a basket of warm fresh bread.  It also works beautifully for a large group and makes an impressive appearance in a buffet line-up. If you’re up for a new way with beets, I’m tellin’ ya, Michaela’s salad is the way to go!

Do you have a favorite recipe or way to eat beets?
Please share with me!

Michaela’s Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Yield: 8 to 12 servings (a very large salad!)


    for the roasted beets:
  • 8 c. cubed (about 1/2'') beets, from about 4 to 5 large beets (you could also just slice the beets into 1/4'' rounds) It seems like alot of beets, but they shrink down.
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • for the balsamic dressing:
  • 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • for the salad:
  • 5 oz. baby arugula
  • 1 10-oz. bag pre-shredded carrots
  • 1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 c. coursely chopped candied pecans (I love Trader Joe's brand!)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


for the roasted beets:

Preheat oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the beets with the olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes and then stir. Roast an additional 20 minutes, or until beets are softened and starting to caramelize. Remove from oven and let cool. The beets can be roasted a day ahead of time and chilled.

for the balsamic dressing:

Briskly whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. This can be prepared a day ahead of time.

to assemble the salad:

On a very large platter, evenly spread the arugula. Leaving a border of arugula around the outside of the platter, spread a layer of carrots over the arugula. Now leave a small border of carrots and pile the beets on top of the carrots, in the very center. You want to see all the layers distinctively. Sprinkle with blue cheese and candied pecans. Add more salt and pepper, if desired. Drizzle a bit of the dressing over the top of the salad and serve the remainder of the dressing on the side.

* Please note that the beets are intensely colored and will bleed into the carrots and blue cheese after the salad sits for awhile. Which isn't a big deal. But...if you want the salad to be as fresh looking as possible at serving time, wait to layer the salad until right before serving. It's very easy to have all the individual portions of this salad prepared up to a day prior to serving.


Slightly adapted from Michaela Mahady's recipe box.


15 Responses to “Michaela’s Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Dressing”

  1. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — August 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I didn’t realize you work with an architect! I can see you’re artistic in all facets of life – very cool! Michaela’s salad looks absolutely fabulous….I’m a “love em” person when it comes to beets and give kudos to Michaela for a tasty salad!

  2. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — August 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    What a beautiful salad! Michaela sounds like a lovely person and someone I’d love to be at a dinner party with :).

  3. #
    Lisa | With Style and Grace — August 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Such a gorgeous salad! Looks like something I would even eat now!

  4. #
    Cathy @ Noble Pig — August 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I love roasted beets with mustard vinaigrette and greens…this looks amazing.

  5. #
    nest of posies — August 30, 2012 at 10:30 am

    this is beautiful! it’s all the colors of FALL!!! i love beets on a salad, so i’m planning on making this soon!!!


  6. #
    Glory/ Glorious Treats — August 30, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Gorgeous home and gorgeous salad!

  7. #
    Angie @ Big Bear's Wife — August 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    That is one beautiful salad and one beautiful home!!

  8. #
    Mom — August 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    This looks so delicious! But I have to admit that Grandma Renelt’s pickled beets are my favorite!

  9. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — August 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    This is so pretty! Love this!

  10. #
    Anna @ hiddenponies — August 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I’ve recently learned to appreciate (ok, LOVE) beets and am shocked at the strength of people’s opinions about them! This looks perfect!

  11. #
    Sara Tetreault — August 31, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Brenda, this salad sounds great! I love beets and arugula but hadn’t thought to mix them. I have a beet salad recipe that has sour cream and horseradish. It’s delish and is the prettiest color of pink, you don’t really want to eat it ;) Great photos, too.

  12. #
    Sheila — September 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Be still my heart….drool. I love beets too! This salad looks amazing. Can’t wait to try. Hey tell your boss no fair that she got such a heap of gifts and talents! JK ; D thankful you are sharing her wonderful talents with the rest of us!

    • Brenda replied on September 4th, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      I know! Her creativity is cRaZy!!!

  13. #
    Matt 'mmWine' Horbund — September 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I’ve always said that beets taste like dirt. I think it was the type of beets I first tried. I’ve had a friend make a fantastic beet salad that I just loved, and I’m more open to them now. This is on my “To Do” list!


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