A rainbow-colored citrus beet salad with roasted beets and carrots, chickpeas, fresh orange sections, tangy goat cheese and honey-citrus dressing.
This citrus beet salad is a delicious tangle of texture, shape and flavor. It’s full of roasted root vegetables (carrots and beets) sliced into wedges, coins and ribbons together with a colorful variety of citrus, greens and a few chickpeas for good measure. While it’s not strictly a beet salad, if you or someone you know is on the beet fence, this salad has the power to change minds.
I know because I’m one of those people. Beets are great, but a whole salad/soup bowl full of only them? Not so much. To me, they can be too intense, overwhelming my tastebuds with sugar and dirt.
I gravitate toward yellow and golden beets, which are milder and less earthy-tasting than the red ones, and they’re what I use in this salad. However, it’s your call. If you’re a full-on beet fan, go ahead and make the salad with red ones or a mixture of colors.
Beets, oranges, blood oranges and tangerines love sharing a salad bowl.
Is it a beautiful coincidence that they all come in a kaleidoscope of colors, like sunset orange, deep crimson and magenta? Sometimes you gotta hand it to Mother Nature.
Not only that, but they pair so well with each other. Beets have an intense, earthy sweetness that marries perfectly with acid in every form, which citrus fruits are happy to deliver. The dressing for this salad contains a vibrant combo of lemon, lime and orange juices, each one delivering differing levels of sweetness and acidity.
The magic of acid makes beets more appealing to the professed beet hater ~ Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy
Beets and goat cheese are such a classic pairing it’s apparently considered a cliché. But you know what? Who cares! Certain food groups just go together, like salt and potatoes and peanut butter and jelly on two pieces of bread.
You can use any soft goat cheese in this citrus beet salad, but I love a good semi-aged goat cheese with a little more character. My fave is Bucheron — its flavor is a bit sharper than a chèvre, with an appealing creamy edge surrounding a white, crumbly middle.
Along with whole roasted beets sliced into wedges, this salad contains thinly sliced roasted beet chips and roasted carrot shavings. If you’d rather, skip the roasting step for the chips and shavings and toss the raw beet rounds and carrot ribbons into the salad.
Random tips and tricks for making this salad:
- To make pretty citrus segments, use a small, very sharp knife to slice off the top and bottom ends of the fruit so it sits flat on your cutting board. Run the knife closely along the flesh of the fruit from top to bottom to shave off the skin (be sure to get most of the white pitch). Hold the fruit in one hand over a bowl, while inserting the knife in between the membrane of each segment, pushing out the segment as you go. Save the juice!
- If you have a high-powered blender, use it to make a creamier, emulsified dressing.
- Use a sharp, sturdy vegetable peeler to make thin carrot ribbons. This is my all-time favorite peeler — it’s inexpensive, well designed and sharp.
citrus beet salad with roasted carrots, goat cheese and pistachio
Yield 4 - 6 servings
- You can roast the beets and carrots one or 2 days ahead.
- Keep extra dressing in the fridge for up to a week. It may separate - just whisk before using.
- Depending on how juicy your fruit is, count on 1 or 2 lemons/limes plus 1 orange to make the dressing.
- 3 tablespoons each fresh lemon juice, lime juice and orange juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon crushed toasted cumin seed or ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Maras chili pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 golden beets, tops and tails trimmed
- 2 large carrots (10 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt
- 3 oranges/tangerines - try mixed varieties like blood orange, Cara Cara, and mandarin - divided into segments
- 1/2 head radicchio, shredded
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 3 heads Little Gem or bibb lettuce, leaves washed, dried and separated
- 1/4 pound semi-aged goat cheese (such as Bucheron), rind trimmed if you prefer; crumbled
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- Small handful each dill and cilantro sprigs
- To make the dressing, whisk the citrus juices, honey, vinegar, cumin and chili in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking until emulsified. For a creamier dressing, blend everything in a high-powered blender. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, honey and/or acid to suit your taste. Set aside.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Put 2 beets in a small oven proof skillet and add about 1/4-inch water. Cover the pan tightly with foil and roast until tender, 30 - 40 minutes. Cool, slip off the peel and slice into wedges.
- Peel and slice the remaining beet into thin circles on a mandolin or with a sharp knife. Add to a mixing bowl.
- Shave the carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and add to the bowl with the beet rounds. Add the olive oil and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Transfer the mixture to a large rimmed baking sheet and spread out in an even layer. Roast until golden brown, 12 minutes or so, stirring around halfway through.
- To assemble the salad, combine the roasted beet wedges, beet-carrot mixture, radicchio, red onion, scallion and chickpeas in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss to coat.
- Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter or a bowl and top with the dressed vegetables. Sprinkle the cheese, pistachios and herbs over the salad and gently toss. Drizzle the salad with little more dressing and serve.