This Roasted Beet Salad is a striking fresh salad, with colorful layers of arugula, carrots, and beets. Sprinkled with blue cheese and candied pecans, and served with a honey balsamic dressing, it’s loaded with flavor!

a large platter of salad with arugula, carrots, and roasted beets

Roasted Beet Salad Recipe

I love the striking presentation of this Roasted Beet Salad recipe, with its vibrant layers of arugula, carrots, and beets. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy beets!

I could happily eat beets any day of the week – and I often do, with a jar of pickled beets always in the fridge. I love their deep vibrant color and unique earthy flavor. When a restaurant menu features a beet salad, it’s VERY likely that I’ll be ordering it!

This beet salad features small bites of roasted beets, shredded carrots, and a pile of peppery arugula, displayed in three distinct, very simple layers. It’s sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese and chopped candied pecans, and served with a honey balsamic dressing. So much fantastic flavor!

I serve this colorful salad any time of year, and especially for dinner gatherings and holidays. It’s great for entertaining, as the roasted beets and dressing can be made a day or two in advance. I love a gorgeous, impressive salad that’s quick and easy to assemble!

Here’s another arugula beet salad that I make almost weekly – be sure to check it out!

Recipe Tribute: All credit for this recipe goes to Michaela Mahady, a friend and co-worker who passed away in 2021. To read more, scroll down past the recipe card.

a pile of fresh beets

What Do Beets Taste Like?

Beets. They’re very much a “love ’em or leave ’em” kind of vegetable.

I grew up with beets in our garden and on our table, thanks to Mom – so they’ve been a very “normal” kind of vegetable for me. But I’ve been part of enough conversations to know that not everybody appreciates beets!

Beets are a root vegetable that have an earthy flavor with a touch of sweetness. The sweetness is similar to when you think about a carrot being sweet.

They can be eaten raw (not my favorite! unless it’s on a fresh salad and sliced super thin), cooked (roasted, boiled, sauteed, grilled), or pickled (YES!!), and are a popular ingredient in many dishes.

Beets are nutritious, rich in vitamin C, iron, folate, and fiber – which makes them even easier for me to love!

ingredients for roasted beet and arugula salad

Beet Salad Ingredients

This salad has a very earthy base of flavors, with plenty of punch from the toppings and dressing. Here’s what you’ll need – scroll down to the recipe card for the measurements.

For the roasted beets:

  • Beets – This ruby colored root vegetable has an earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness – and roasting brings out a deeper flavor and more of that sweet quality. Peel the beets, then chop them into small bites.
  • Olive oil – Oil + honey, salt, and pepper give a light coating to the chopped beets before going into the oven.
  • Honey – Just a little bit of honey nudges those natural beet sugars even more.
  • Salt & pepper – Super simple seasoning, to coax out even more flavor.

For the honey balsamic dressing:

To assemble the salad:

  • Arugula – I use baby arugula, for smaller, easier bites.
  • Carrots – You can shred your own, but I just grab a bag of pre-shredded carrots.
  • Blue cheese – I love a blue cheese salad! If you have a favorite blue cheese, use that. Buy it pre-crumbled or just crumble a block yourself. I like a blue cheese that is especially creamy, with a softer flavor.
  • Candied pecans – I like to make my own candied pecans, but the ones from Trader Joe’s are also very good.
  • Salt & pepper – Finish off the salad with a light sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

How To Roast Beets

For this recipe, bite-sized pieces of beets are roasted in the oven with a thin layer of flavor all over. This is how to roast beets for this salad:

  1. Prep. First, prepare the beets. Slice off the root ends and leaves. Then use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the rough outer skins. Cut beets into 1/2″ sized bites (they will shrink a bit in the oven).
  2. Season. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cubed beets with the olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast. Place in a 375° F oven for 20 minutes and then stir. Roast an additional 20 minutes, or until beets are fully softened and starting to caramelize.
  4. Let cool. Remove the beets from the oven and let cool. You can roast the beets 1-2 days ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until ready to use.
a jar of balsamic vinaigrette

How To Make Honey Balsamic Dressing

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe is the best beet salad dressing – and only takes a few minutes to make. It’s a family favorite, so versatile – we always have this in our fridge!

overhead view of a salad arranged on a large oval platter

How To Make Roasted Beet Salad

Now here’s the super fun part…assembling this pretty salad!

  1. Spread arugula. On a large platter or low wide salad bowl, spread the arugula into an even layer.
  2. Add carrots. Spread a layer of shredded carrots over the arugula, in the center, leaving a border of arugula showing at the outer edge.
  3. Top with beets. Then add the roasted beets on top of the carrots, in the very center, leaving a border of carrots showing. You want to see all the layers distinctively.
  4. Sprinkle with tasty extras. Now add delicious bites of blue cheese and candied pecans – plus a little salt & pepper, if desired.
  5. Serve with honey balsamic dressing. You can drizzle a bit of the dressing over the top of the salad and serve the remainder of the dressing on the side. Or just serve all of the dressing on the side…which is what I tend to do most, as this works better for saving any leftovers.
a large platter of salad with arugula, carrots, and roasted beets

Tips & Variations

Here are some helpful tips plus a few easy ways to change up this salad.

  • Wear gloves. Beets are infused with deep coloring. If you want to keep your hands stain-free, wear kitchen gloves when handling the beets. You might also want to put on an apron, if you’re concerned about your clothing.
  • Test beets for doneness. Always make sure the beets are fully cooked, with no raw, hard bites. Just grab a fork and test a few random pieces to make sure the entire pan of beets is fork-tender.
  • Swap out the greens. If you don’t like arugula, substitute with other fresh greens. I think baby spinach would be nice, and so would a spring greens mix. I would just stay away from iceberg and Romaine, as this salad has a different vibe than that.
  • Use a different cheese. Not everybody likes a blue cheese salad, I get that. If you are one of those people, sub the blue cheese for feta cheese, goat cheese, or shaved Parmesan.
  • Try another nut. I’m a huge fan of candied nuts in salads, but they don’t have to be candied pecans. You could substitute walnuts or cashews in my candied pecans recipe. Or just use some good roasted, salted pecans, walnuts, cashews, or pecans.
overhead of photo of a large salad with beets, arugula, and carrots

Can I Make This In Advance?

You can definitely prepare all the separate components in advance, but I don’t recommend fully assembling this salad much more than 30 minutes prior to serving it.

Here’s why.

The red beet color will start to 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 look as fresh as possible at serving time, wait to layer the salad until shortly before serving.

You can roast the beets, make the dressing, and prep other ingredients 1-2 days in advance.

Here’s what I’d suggest:

  • Roast the beets. Follow the instructions on the recipe card. Once the beets are cooked and then cooled to room temperature, place them in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Make the dressing. Follow the instructions on the recipe card and store the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge. Let dressing come to room temperature before using it – let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes, and then shake or stir to combine.
  • Crumble the cheese. If you are using a block of blue cheese, break it into small bites with a fork or knife tip. Store in the fridge, in an airtight container.
  • Chop the nuts. You could use whole nuts, but I do prefer to give them a rough chop. Just put the chopped nuts in an airtight container and store them in a cool place.

Then, when you’re ready to serve the salad, all you really need to do is assemble the layers – THE FUN PART! Just follow the recipe card instructions for how to layer the ingredients on the salad plate.

an individual plate of arugula salad with roasted beets

What To Serve With Beet Salad

Beets pair well with many different meats, fish & seafood, vegetables, and other dishes.

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Pinterest image for roasted beet & arugula salad
overhead of photo of a large salad with beets, arugula, and carrots

Roasted Beet Salad

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This Roasted Beet Salad is a striking fresh salad, with colorful layers of arugula, carrots, and beets. Sprinkled with blue cheese and candied pecans, and served with a honey balsamic dressing, it’s loaded with flavor!

Ingredients

for the roasted beets:

  • 4 to 5 cups cubed (about ½” in size) peeled beets, from about 4 to 5 medium-sized beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

for the balsamic dressing:

for the salad:

  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 10 ounces pre-shredded carrots
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ½ cup coursely chopped candied pecans (Trader Joe's brand is also very good)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. For the roasted beets: Preheat oven to 375° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cubed beets with the olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
  2. Roast for 20 minutes and then stir. Roast an additional 20 minutes, or until beets are fully softened and starting to caramelize.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool. You can roast the beets 1-2 days ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. For the balsamic dressing: This Balsamic Dressing Recipe takes just a few minutes to make, and can be made ahead of time.
  5. To assemble the salad: On a large platter or low wide salad bowl, spread the arugula into an even layer. Spread a layer of shredded carrots over the arugula, in the center, leaving a border of arugula showing at the outer edge. Then add beets on top of the carrots, in the very center, leaving a border of carrots showing. You want to see all the layers distinctively.
  6. Sprinkle the salad 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, if desired, and serve the remainder of the dressing on the side. Or just serve all of the dressing on the side.

Notes

Note that red beets are intensely colored and can stain your hands - wear kitchen gloves if you don't want to stain your hands. Also, when you create this salad, the red beet color 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 look as fresh 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.

Recipe slightly adapted from Michaela Mahady’s recipe box.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 706mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 10gSugar: 43gProtein: 10g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles!

a large platter of salad with arugula, carrots, and roasted beets

Recipe Tribute: Michaela

This stunning salad recipe was shared by co-worker and friend Michaela Mahady. I can’t think of her without hearing her joyful, infectious (and oftentimes loud!) laughter in my head. You couldn’t help but laugh along with her!

Michaela was an architect and all-around creative person with a long list of talents and skills. She was a founding principal at SALA Architects, where I worked for nearly 18 years. Michaela passed away in 2021 after a rather short, yet harsh, battle with cancer.

The Maple Forest home by architect Michaela Mahady
Photograph by Phillip Mueller

Maybe you’ve seen this stunning Craftsman style home before? It’s called “Maple Forest”, and was designed by Michaela. This has been a wildly popular home plan for many years (you can purchase the plan here) and is my very favorite design in her portfolio. 

Welcoming Home book

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

Besides being a highly successful architect, Michaela also designed exquisite stained glass art – both residential and large commercial projects – alongside her husband John at Pegasus Studios.

There’s a whole slew of other arts, hobbies, and creative fancies that she entertained as well…

She had an amazing green thumb, with an enchanting garden, a private backyard sanctuary that’s full of crazy-gigantic hostas. It gave her so much joy to share from her garden, and I love having some of her hostas transplanted in our backyard.

Michaela’s handwriting had drop-dead gorgeous flair. So flattering, in fact, that friends would ask her to address the envelopes for their wedding invitations. There was even a computerized font created from her handwriting!

She also possessed a natural knack for knitting. And I’m not talking about simple scarves and hats. She created intricate designs and then knit sweaters, wall hangings, and other pieces, some of which were displayed at special art gallery shows.

Michaela’s Food Flair

And when it came to dinner parties, Michaela had infinite flair. She had a deep affection for Italy, and visited regularly with her husband John and daughter Yana, and a mix of friends. Her love for that country spilled out in her entertaining style, effortlessly. From the music, wine, and laughter, to the simply prepared dishes with fresh Italian flavors, spending time around Michaela’s table – both in her dining room and in her garden – was always a fantastic treat.

It was at Michaela’s home where I first enjoyed this roasted beet and arugula salad. Michaela assembled it in her tiny kitchen, layering the giant platter with first green, then orange, and finally vibrant purple-red. And of course there was blue cheese and balsamic dressing, a couple of her favorite things to eat. It was a salad of bold, fearless flavor. A salad that represented Michaela and her life so well.

This post was originally published in 2012 and updated in 2023.