This lemony Beet Salad with Goat Cheese is restaurant quality with a lemon vinaigrette, creamy cheese, and crunchy walnuts.
While you can find a beet salad on many menus these days, it’s easy to make a restaurant-quality version at home with simple, fresh ingredients. In this recipe, a shaken lemon vinaigrette brings out the natural sweetness of roasted beets. Balanced with creamy goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and fresh baby greens, this gorgeous beet salad is a showstopper.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
Roast Your Beets
For the best beet flavor in this salad, you’re going to want to use roasted beets. You can use canned beets or pre-packaged roasted beets in a pinch, but I highly recommend roasting them yourself if you have the time. They’ll likely taste sweeter than most canned beets, and roasting is incredibly easy. Follow these instructions to roast beets with less mess.
What Kind Of Salad Dressing?
My favorite dressing for this roasted beet salad is a simple homemade lemon vinaigrette. I actually have it pull double duty by acting as a marinade for the beets as well. The marinated beets become noticeably sweeter, thanks to the lemon juice, in just 15 minutes. That flavor boost was definitely worth the minimal amount of effort it took to apply the marinade while I got the rest of the salad ready.
You could also use a balsamic vinaigrette if you have one on hand or make a quick one with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Basically, I like it best with a vinaigrette with a little bit of sweetness, but play around and find your favorite.
Homemade Lemon Vinaigrette
To make this bright and tasty lemon vinaigrette, you shake all of the ingredients together in a jar to create an emulsion. You can also whisk it in a small bowl if you don’t have a jar, but I think shaking it up is much more convenient (and fun).
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients like Dijon mustard, which brings both flavor and structure to this recipe, help to hold the emulsion together for a time. But since oil and liquid don’t naturally bond together, the emulsion is temporary and eventually will separate. So if your vinaigrette separates, all you have to do is shake it up again and use it immediately. (A drizzle of this can also add just the right touch to perk up chicken, seafood, or vegetables so feel free to make extra.)
Do I Have to Use Goat Cheese?
I happen to love how the creamy tanginess of goat cheese pairs with the beets and all the other ingredients in this salad. It’s a classic combination.
But if you’re not a fan of goat cheese, you might try another crumbly cheese, like a mild feta. It will have a saltier flavor profile than with goat cheese, but it still works.
Make-Ahead Tips For Beet Salad
This lemony beet salad recipe is best served as soon as it’s assembled. Though if you want to prepare in advance, you can make almost all of the components ahead of time, just keep them separate.
- Roast the beets up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate them in an airtight container.
- Assemble the lemon vinaigrette up to 1 week ahead. Refrigerate it and re-shake before using.
- Toast the walnuts up to 2 weeks ahead. Keep them at room temperature in an airtight container.
More Amazing Salad Recipes
If you love this roasted beet salad, try one of my other salads too. There’s so much great variety and some of them also have easy homemade dressings.
- Beet and Kale Salad with Creamy Dressing
- Quinoa Salad Bowl Recipe
- Sauteed Strawberry Salad Recipe
- Southwestern Steak Salad
- Picnic Fried Chicken Salad
- Rainbow Salad with Honey Tahini Dressing
Podcast Episode About Making Beet Salad
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this salad, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:
- 3/4 lb. (about 3 to 4 medium)* roasted beets, peeled, cut into bite-sized wedges
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. Lemon Vinaigrette, divided**
- 1 (2.25 oz.) package chopped walnuts (about 5 Tbsp.)***
- 1 (5 oz.) bag washed, mixed baby greens
- 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add beets. Microwave 1 minute.
- Remove bowl from microwave, add 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette. Let stand 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, toss together mixed greens and remaining 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette.
- Drain beets, arrange over greens.
- Top with crumbled goat cheese and walnuts.
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*For canned beets, use one 15oz. can of sliced beets.
**If you don’t want to make the homemade vinaigrette, you can also skip marinating the beets and just use your preferred dressing on your salad.
***For extra crunch and flavor, toast walnuts before adding to salad. Preheat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add walnuts, toss frequently until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer walnuts to a plate or paper towel and let stand 5 minutes before adding to salad.