This beet salad with feta cheese is a truly delicious and impressive dish using simple ingredients. Cooked beets, crumbled feta and pistachios come together with fresh herbs and a lemon olive oil dressing to enjoy as a side salad or light meal.
I love a good salad without any actual lettuce. This Mediterranean carrot salad pops to mind as a prime example of this kind of salad.
They’re hearty, so much more interesting to eat and usually double as great side dishes for a main course. This beet salad with feta cheese is all of those things and more.
I think you’ll love this recipe for a few reasons:
It’s simple – there’s only a handful of ingredients needed.
Quick preparation – start to finish, it’s ready in 10-15 minutes depending on how fast you chop!
It’s pretty! – pretty food tastes better and it’s hard to argue the color of those beets combined with the pistachios, fresh herbs and feta don’t catch your attention with their beauty.
Great to make ahead – this salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days making it great to prep in advance for a meal or enjoy all week long in a variety of ways.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THIS BEET & FETA SALAD
- cooked beets (any variety)
- feta cheese
- shelled pistachios
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
Beets – Using precooked and prepared beets for the salad keeps the preparation quick and easy so that’s what I recommend. You can find these ready to eat beets in the produce section of the grocery store. Canned or jarred beets are not something I ever buy but those would also work. Of course, if you’d rather cook and peel your own beets, feel free to do so if you have the time (they can be steamed, boiled, roasted or pressure cooked) and try to grab some with the greens still attached so you can make these sautéed beet and Swiss chard greens!
Feta – Grab a good quality feta for this recipe. I prefer the blocks of feta which I then crumble myself to the already crumbled feta option. Typically, the blocks are cheaper and you also get more.
Pistachios – Make sure to grab shelled pistachios for this recipe otherwise your fingers will be getting a workout! Pay attention to whether they’re roasted and salted or plain as this will affect the amount of salt used to season the salad at the end.
HOW TO MAKE A BEET SALAD WITH FETA CHEESE
If using ready to eat beets, simply chop them into quarters or halves depending on their size and toss together with the feta, pistachios, minced parsley and mint in a large bowl.
If you wanted to get fancy, you can also spiralize the beets like shown in this Roasted Winter Root Vegetable Salad.
Whisk the olive oil and fresh lemon juice in a small bowl then pour over the beet salad.
Gently toss everything together until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste.
It’s important to season this salad to taste at the end because both the feta and potentially the pistachios add quite a bit of salt to the dish already. You may end up needing much less than you’d think.
The beet salad can be enjoyed immediately or kept refrigerated and covered for a later time. The flavors actually meld together nicely after it sits so don’t be afraid to prep this in advance.
OPTIONAL ADD-INS AND SWAPS
I love the simple preparation of the beet salad with feta as it is but there are also an almost endless amount of ways to enhance and bulk it up.
- Add a cooked grain – millet, quinoa or rice are all good options.
- A handful of baby greens – something bitter like arugula would be excellent.
- Try some fresh fruit – berries, pomegranates, citrus segments, diced apple or pear would all be delicious depending on the season for a pop of sweetness.
- Use dried fruit – raisins, cranberries or cherries can be added for another optional sweet element.
- Add some honey to the dressing.
- Swap out pistachios for another nut such as walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans.
- Add a protein – something like shredded rotisserie chicken would be delicious and turn this into a simple yet balanced meal.
- Try orange instead of lemon and use a bit of zest in the salad too.
CAN YOU EAT BEETS RAW IN A SALAD?
Beets can be eaten raw but it’s best to very finely shred or slice them if doing so and use them more as a garnish or for a pop of color in a dish.
I find them much more enjoyable when cooked, especially roasted as it brings out their sweeter side.
For this beet salad as well as this roasted beet and apple salad, it’s preferable that they’re cooked given the quantity in the recipe.
WHAT DO BEETS PAIR WELL WITH?
No doubt beets have a distinct “earthy” taste. They’re a bit polarizing because of this but if you know how to pair them appropriately, they’re really a delicious and healthy root vegetable.
While the ingredient list is short, each one has a specific way in which it complements the natural flavor of the beets.
The feta cheese adds an element of saltiness, the pistachios also add salt and texture while the lemon, parsley and mint all add a bright freshness to help liven the natural sweet earthy taste of the beets.
WHAT TO PAIR WITH FETA AND BEET SALAD?
As a side dish, I love this salad with red meat. Alongside a steak, it’s phenomenal and reminiscent of a restaurant appetizer.
Try it with some filet mignon cooked in the air fryer.
I also like the combination of beets with duck. Pan seared duck breast is one of my favorite simple yet elegant dinners and this beet with feta salad is the perfect pairing for it.
Other meats beet salad goes well with:
MORE BEET RECIPES TO TRY:
Beet Salad with Feta
- 3 cups cooked beets chopped
- 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios chopped
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced mint
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the beets, feta, pistachios, parsley and mint in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice in a separate small bowl and pour over the beet salad. Toss to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.