Beet Salad with Mint and Basil Recipe
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Use the last bit of summer herbs to dress this healthy and refreshing end-of-summer salad.
- 3 red beets
- 3 yellow beets
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons finely ribboned fresh mint, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons finely ribboned fresh Italian basil, plus more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 ounces baby red chard
Cut the greens from the beets, leaving about 2 inches of stem intact. Do not peel or further trim the actual root. Scrub them vigorously with a vegetable brush to remove any dirt or debris. Place them in a medium pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 40 minutes or until the beets are tender. (Pierce one with a fork to test.) Larger beets may take longer, smaller beets may cook more quickly. Remove the cooked beets from the water and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Whisk the vinegar, orange juice, olive oil, orange zest, basil, and mint in a medium bowl until blended. (Reserve some herbs to use as a garnish, if desired.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Once the beets are cool, gently pull the skins and stems off using your fingers. They should just peel away. (Wear gloves if you don’t want your hands stained purple, and be sure to protect your clothing!) Dice the beets into ½-inch cubes.
Toss the cubed beets with the dressing and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (this will allow the dressing to penetrate the beets before serving). Taste for additional salt and pepper, then arrange over a bed of the chard or other greens. Garnish with additional chopped fresh basil and mint.
Roasted Beets With Basil And Mint
Love an easy beet dish that can be served both hot and cold. Sutton (my at this point 9-month-old son) and I demolished this second day, cold right out of a Tupperware container while I stood holding him in one arm in the kitchen. Yeah, not quite proper sit-down dining but one test bite turning into an “if you don’t make sure that I always have a piece of beet in my mouth I’m going to yell at you” experience. I guess that means it good—HA!
Beet and Orange Salad
This beet salad is a light and delicious combination of roasted beets, oranges, feta cheese and fresh mint leaves. The orange vineagrette is simple to make and a perfect dressing for this salad. It's nice to serve as a starter to any meal or a delightful side dish.
What is a Composed Salad?
There are two types of salad in the world – tossed salads and composed salads. A tossed salad is pretty self explanatory – all the ingredients are tossed together. A composed salad is built with more intention – each ingredient is placed on the plate with design in mind. This beet and orange salad is a really pretty composed salad that is delicious as a light lunch with some soft butter lettuce, or as a salad course for a dinner party. (Read more about salads in my Salads 101 article here.)
The ingredients for this beet and orange salad are very simple – along with the beets and oranges, you will also need some white balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey to make the vinaigrette and then some feta cheese, fresh mint and if you’re feeling nutty, some pistachios. The simplicity of the salad adds to its beauty. Aside from the beets and oranges, all these ingredients can be substituted if you don’t like or just don’t have one of them on hand. Instead of feta cheese, try using some goat cheese. Instead of fresh mint, you could shred and sprinkle fresh basil on top or even fresh parsley. The pistachios are optional, so you could leave them off altogether or think about hazelnuts instead.
How to Cook Beets
You will need to cook the beets for this salad, but you have options. You could roast the beets in the oven, or you could cook them in your Instant Pot® or other brand of pressure cooker, or you could even cook your beets in the microwave. I have full instructions on how to do each of these methods in this cooking school article here. It’s also possible to cook the beets up to two days ahead of time if you like. If you happen to have beets for dinner one night, using the leftovers up in this salad the next day is a perfect idea. Keeping the beets in perfect rounds and slicing them is key to the beauty of this composed salad, so keep that in mind before you chop them up the night before!
How to Peel Oranges
Perfect round slices of peeled orange are also key to the salad’s beauty. Instead of peeling the oranges by hand, cut the peel away using a sharp knife, curving the knife around the orange from top to bottom. You can read about how to cut away the peel of all citrus fruits here. Cutting away the peel and the pith removes any chance of bitter taste in the orange and really does make the orange slices prettier. In a perfect world, your oranges and beets would be roughly the same size, but you don’t always have control over that so whatever you end up with will work.
How to Compose the Salad
Once you have all the components of the salad ready – the sliced cooked beets, the peeled and sliced oranges, the feta cheese, the shredded mint, the shelled pistachios and the vinaigrette – all you have left to do is to place them on the plate in a decorative manner. Shingle the beet and orange slices around the plate in concentric circles. Scatter the feta and pistachios on top and drizzle the vinaigrette over everything. I also like to sprinkle a little salt on at this stage to make sure everything is seasoned. Then add the mint and you’re ready to go to the table, pretty as a picture!
What to Serve Alongside
This beet and orange salad can go with almost anything as a side dish, but I would pair it with something pretty simple like a simple marinated chicken breast and rice, or a delicious salmon fillet. Or, you could serve this as one of several salads for lunch. It would be nice with a quinoa salad, a spring green salad and a potato salad, but understand that the other salads might be jealous because this beet and orange salad will walk away with the prize for beauty, hands down!
Basil Mint Dressing
Basil Mint Dressing is fresh, bright and perfect on any salad. Make a big batch and keep in on hand for salads all week long.
My friend Andie eats a salad every day. It’s a great way to get enough veg and variety in your diet. It also perpetuates more good choices. And we all know that healthy living is making small choices over and over again. I love this idea so much that I have also adopted it. I don’t eat a salad every single day, but probably at least 5 days out of a week. Which is a lot better than before. (When I either skipped lunch altogether or ate something that wasn’t even in the realm of veg or healthy.)
I don’t get bored of salads. However, my family does. They are not down with the salad as a meal, so I try to eat them at lunchtime when they aren’t home. (I still make a lot of dinner salads, I just ignore the grumbling.) It’s a nice break in the day too. I head downstairs to the kitchen and take the 10 minutes to make an actual meal for myself. I make a giant, colorful, fresh salad and it really makes me feel good and happy.
I’ve found that the key for me to be able to sustain this is that I need to have things to make a salad on hand. I buy extra peppers, romaine, carrots, and herbs and I’m guaranteed that I can make a delicious salad at any time. I keep my pantry well stocked with nuts and seeds, cheeses, dried fruits, oils, and different flavors of vinegar. I rarely have the same exact salad every day.
Another thing that I do is that I always make my own dressing. I don’t think that I’ve bought salad dressing in at least 5 years. It is the easiest thing to make and I always know what’s in it. (There are some scary ingredients in salad dressing.) This basil mint dressing has been my go-to dressing lately. It is so fresh and bright and makes anything taste delicious. (It’s really good on chicken.)
I don’t usually measure when I make it, so this is a no recipe-recipe. I’ve made this so many times, it always turns out delicious. Sometimes I want it a little sweeter, so I add a little more honey. Sometimes I want it extra tart, so I add more lemon juice. It’s entirely up to you. I usually make enough for a few days. It keeps in a mason jar or anything with a tight lid. If it starts to separate, just shake it up and it comes back together.
- 1/2 cup fresh mint
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- garlic clove
- salt and pepper
- zest from one lemon
- juice from one lemon
- 1-2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest your lemon. Set the zest aside. Add mint, basil, garlic, salt and pepper to a food processor.
Pulse to chop the herbs and garlic.
Add the lemon juice and honey. Pulse again. Slowly pour the olive oil through the feeder tube.
Give it a taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Or if you want it sweeter, add more honey. Tarter? Add more lemon. It’s up to you.
Pour the dressing into a jar. Stir in lemon zest.
Make yourself a salad and toss with the best dressing ever. Try not to get any on your laptop.
Since ingredients are harder to come by right now, I’m sharing my thoughts on potential substitutions. Here they are:
These are the star of the show, so I’m hesitant to offer any alternatives. Gaby’s right—the combination of red and yellow beets is gorgeous. This summer, I might try slices of ripe peaches and other stone fruits instead, which would yield a creamy, herbed fruit salad situation.
I’ve never roasted shallots in this fashion before, but I’m hooked. If you can’t find them, you could slice a small red onion into 1-inch wedges instead.
Labneh is extra-thick yogurt with an almost cream cheese-like tang. It is delicious. Gaby suggests buying it at specialty markets. I couldn’t find any labneh at Whole Foods, so I used Siggi’s brand of skyr instead (another variety of thick yogurt).
In a pinch, you could use Greek yogurt, or better yet, strain Greek yogurt through cheesecloth for a few hours. If you’re dairy free or vegan, you could try a double batch of my vegan sour cream instead.
Fresh Basil, Dill and Mint
Gaby uses all three in this recipe. If you need to simplify, you could use just one for the dressing and garnish. You could also swap less expensive flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for any of the above, since they also go well with beets.
Since the yogurt is so creamy, you could get by without the avocado.
Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments, and be sure to check out Gaby’s newest book. If you’re in the mood for more fun salads like this one, try these:
Dining Down Under: Beetroot, Feta, Walnut and Mint Salad
It’s summer in Australia. The sky is bluer than blue and the days are long, hot and lazy.
The schools are still on holidays so my five year old daughter spends each morning splashing happily in a local pool, learning to swim. As I type this my toddler son is running around the house with just a nappy on, a piece of watermelon clutched tightly in one hand, the juice dripping down his chin.
I don’t feel like cooking elaborate meals during this relaxed time so salads are perfect.
This recipe was inspired by a salad my old school friend, Megan, brought over for lunch recently. Megan was the first person I met on my first day of high school and we’ve been best friends ever since.
Megan used canned beetroots in her salad but I’ve roasted my beetroots for a milder flavour (canned beetroots often have vinegar and sugar added). But if you’re in a hurry, canned beetroots would be perfectly fine.
Red Prawn Ceviche, Avocado, and Corn by Chef Antonio Romero
Most salads are at their best when they have just been made but this salad holds up surprisingly well the next day. The leaves aren’t as crisp as they were, and the beetroot stains everything bright pink, but the flavours come together beautifully.
Serve this salad with sourdough bread and salted butter for a simple lunch or supper (serves 2-3 people), or with duck or venison as part of a special dinner menu.
Make it Easier by Making the Beets the Day Before
The most time intensive part of this beet salad with feta is roasting the beets. Since I think this salad is best served cold, I encourage you to roast the beets the day before. This will allow the beets to cool completely before adding them to the salad. It also cuts down on the prep time needed to make this great side dish.
If you don’t feel confident roasting beets, don’t sweat it. I have a whole post on How to Roast Beets. It its a lot easier than you think.
- 2 pounds golden beets (about 10 medium beets), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 8 blood oranges
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon sumac, plus more for sprinkling (see Note)
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ounces feta, crumbled (1/2 cup)
Spread the beets in a large steamer basket and steam until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the beets to a bowl and let cool completely.
Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Quarter the oranges lengthwise, then slice crosswise 1/3 inch thick. Add the oranges to the beets along with the parsley and mint.
In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the vinegar, shallot, honey and 1/8 teaspoon of sumac. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat. Add the feta and toss again. Sprinkle the salad with sumac and serve.
- 6 red beets, trimmed, halved lengthwise
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 4 to 6 ripe tomatoes (about 2 pounds), preferably heirloom, cut into wedges
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup small mint leaves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place beets, cut sides up, on parchment-lined foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Fold foil over beets to enclose, and crimp edges to seal. Bake until tender, about 35 minutes. Let cool. Peel, and cut into wedges. (Beets can be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight.)
Arrange beets and tomatoes on a serving platter. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice, and season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Scatter mint over top, and serve.