Candy Cane Beet Salad with Pistachios & Goat Cheese

Beets taste like sugar kisses to me, with a little spoonful of dirt on top.

I like beets, love them actually. But they’ve been an acquired taste, for sure. Maybe it was my childhood associations with beets and canned vegetables.

At some point in the history of tables I’ve sat around there was a dish of soggy pickled beets sitting on one. Beets in a dish that came straight out of a can; tasting sour, sweet and a little of garden soil all at the same time.

Like that time I licked the edge of a dirty old copper penny; it tasted salty and metallic, but so mysteriously mouthwatering I was compelled to have another lick.

Beets come in deeply intense colors – magenta, orange and yellow – but Italian heirloom Chioggia beets are exceptionally drop dead gorgeous. They’re unassuming, gnarly and beet-like on the outside, striped liked sweet candy canes on the inside.

It floors me that nature could be so whimsical as to design a root vegetable in the spitting image of a Willy Wonka lollypop.

Chioggia Beets Recipe

Once they’re cooked, the colors muddy and fade, so it’s worth eating Chioggia beets raw to get full bang for your buck.

I have a Benriner spiral slicer, a handy gadget that makes lovely thin spirals out of firm-textured vegetables and fruits.You don’t need one. A good old vegetable peeler works just as well. Oxo makes my favorite basic peeler.

Any kind of beet will work for this recipe, but Chioggia beets are becoming more available at grocery stores with good produce sections as well as at farmer’s markets.

Candy Cane Beet Salad with Pistachios & Goat Cheese

Serving Size: serves 2 -4


  • 1 pound Chioggia, orange, yellow or red beets, peeled, about 5 or 6 medium
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons best olive oil you have, or pistachio oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soft, fresh goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons toasted chopped pistachios
  • Fresh baby arugula and/or salad greens


  1. Shave the beets into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, mandoline slicer or spiral slicer. Toss gently on a plate or large bowl with the basil.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, sugar and salt until dissolved and blended.
  3. Toss the beets with just enough of the dressing to coat lightly; add more dressing and seasoning to taste. Top with goat cheese and pistachios. Serve over arugula or baby greens.


  1. I can’t get over the “dirt” taste that comes with beets, but I still these pictures are gorgeous!

  2. How pretty and undoubtedly delicious!

  3. I love them, too. We’ve had them a couple of times recently. I like the shaved idea.


  5. Hi, My name is Rachel:
    I really love your blog, I’ll be trying out your recipes in the near future.
    I was wondering if you’d like to do a link exchange.
    here’s my site: (food)

    thank you for your time
    (Send e-mail to)
    Rachel Neil
    RE: Link Exchange
    Please include your URL in the e-mail for me to link to.

  6. I love your description of beets – sweet sugar kisses with a spoonful of dirt! So true. 🙂 These are so beautiful – I had NO idea that these even existed!

    • Lindsay, they are stunning aren’t they? Funny how earthy tastes can be so appealing. I love how vegetables come in so many colors and tastes.

  7. I love beets and goat cheese together- I need to look at my farmers market for some of these candy cane beets!

  8. Girl – I feel like an obsessive fan, but your recipes always get me – we must have the same interest in taste, because your post are always dead on with what I’m craving!

  9. What a beautiful salad! I love the way the beets are cut so thin! I’m sure it’s delicious too!


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