Updated: Jan 3, 2022
If you've never tried sweet, earthy beets paired with citrus fruits you NEED to! The acidity of orange balances out the earthy flavor of roasted beets in this Beet and Orange Salad recipe to really bring out their natural sweetness. This seasonal vegetable salad recipe starts with a layer of roasted beets and sliced oranges dressed with extra virgin olive oil and is topped with crumbled goat cheese, fresh dill, and roasted pistachios. It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s acidic, it’s beautiful, it’s delicious, and it’s super good for you. It’s a great, seasonal side dish for your table this winter.
This Recipe is Kind of a Big DILL
Did you like my dill pun?! Fun fact, several years ago I gave my dad a homemade present for Christmas. It was a small canvas with a light green background and a large dill pickle wearing sunglasses in the center, and at the bottom I wrote: “I’m kind of a big dill.” My dad keeps this “work of art” at his work station in the garage. Just like my dad, this lettuce-less Beet and Orange Salad is a big DILL in more ways than one.
First, this beet and orange salad is totally delicious. To better understand what this salad tastes like, you first have to understand what roasted beets taste like. Beets have a pretty earthy flavor to them (makes sense seeing that they grow in the dirt), but they’re also really sweet for a vegetable. I enjoy the earthiness, but it can be quite strong. The sweetness and acidity from an orange helps to tone down the earthy flavor of beets and enhance their natural sweetness.
Without the addition of fresh dill, goat cheese, and pistachios, this dish is pretty sweet. Dill adds a nice tangy flavor, goat cheese adds a smooth, creamy texture as well as a savory flavor that pairs so perfectly with beets, and pistachios give it a nuttiness and much needed crunch.
If you're a fan of goat cheese, check out these other delicious recipes on my blog:
Second, the ingredients in this recipe are so simple and so good for your health, especially beets.
Ruby Reds with UnBEETable Heart Healthy Properties
Beets are root vegetables with a unique earthy and sweet flavor, and they're also rich in good-for-you nutrients. A 1-cup serving of cooked beets contains around 75 calories, 3 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, and less than 1 g fat as well as potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, folate, vitamin C, several B vitamins, and phytochemicals.
The phytochemicals in beets are phytosterols, betaines, nitrates and nitrites, and carotenoids, all of which may promote cardiovascular health.
Regular consumption of foods rich in phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, may help slow the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Nitrates and nitrites, which are found in a variety of vegetables including beets, may help to reduce blood pressure. Betaine, the antioxidant that gives beets their bright red-purple color, fights inflammation and may prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol). However, it's important to note that high heat or long cooking times lowers the amount of betaine available from beets. Lastly, beet greens contain carotenoids which act as antioxidants and, like betaine, may prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol as well as protect against macular degeneration and some cancers.
Balanced Meal Combinations
As a recipe developer and lover of interesting foods, I really want you to try this delicious Beet and Orange Salad recipe, but as a registered dietitian I also want to help you come up with balanced meals. SO, I’ve come up with a few healthy meal combinations that incorporate this lettuce-less salad, a starch or grain, and a lean protein source.
This lettuce-less beet salad pairs well with a variety of proteins and starches. You can play up the tanginess from the dill or play up the sweetness from the beets depending on what you serve alongside this dish.
Pair this Beet and Orange Salad with any of the following starch/grain + protein combinations for a balanced and delicious meal:
Roasted potatoes + Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill (gluten free, pescatarian)
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad + baked chicken (gluten free)
Whole wheat pita triangles + Creamy Turmeric Hummus (vegetarian)
Rice + Greek Beef Meatballs with Feta (gluten free)
If you enjoy the flavors in this Beet and Orange Salad you need to try my Copycat True Food Charred Cauliflower.
What’s in This Recipe?
Beets – contains fiber, potassium, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, B vitamins, vitamin C, and a variety of phytochemicals
Olive oil – contains heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)
Seasonings – salt and pepper
Oranges – contain vitamin C, potassium, and flavonoids
Dill – adds flavor, contains vitamin C, manganese, folate, and iron
Orange zest or lemon zest – contains prebiotics that promote gut health
Goat cheese – contains calcium and protein; lower in lactose than cow’s milk cheese
Pistachios – contains healthy fats, plant-based protein, vitamin E, fiber, and melatonin
Notes: This recipe is naturally gluten free. Omit the crumbled goat cheese to make this recipe both dairy free* and vegan*. This dish is best served fresh, but you can prepare the beets and slice the orange ahead of time. Top with the dill, goat cheese, and pistachios just before serving.
Beet and Orange Salad
Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
2 medium red beets, trimmed and scrubbed
2 tsp. olive oil, divided plus more for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium oranges
1 tbsp. fresh dill, roughly chopped
1-2 tsp. fresh orange zest (lemon zest also works)
2 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese*
1 tbsp. lightly salted roasted pistachios
Preheat the oven to 400oF.
Coat each beet with ~1 tsp. olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Wrap each beet in a piece of tin foil, then prick 2-3 times each with a fork. Roast on the middle rack for 40 minutes.
Cut the oranges into wheels (I used this method). Set aside.
Once the beets have finished cooking and have cooled enough to handle, peel them. Slice them into circles (as pictured).
Plate your sliced beets and oranges on a large serving dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.
Next, garnish with orange zest as desired, fresh dill, crumbled goat cheese, and pistachios (do this just before serving**). Serve at room temperature.
Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. When you make this Beet and Orange Salad recipe or any other Hope For Balance recipes, tag me on Instagram or Facebook at @hope.for.balance and use the hashtag #hopeforbalance for a chance to be featured in stories. I LOVE seeing your creations!