Lemony Beet Salad

beet feta salad 2.jpgI was six the first time I remember eating a beet.  I pulled it up out of my mother’s garden and ate it standing right there in the back yard, dirt and all.  I have since decided that I like my vegetables washed before eating as the grit of soil fails to please, but my love of beets has never wavered.  I offer you my favorite way to eat them here.

Most people I know either roast or boil beets.  I think roasting is nice sometimes but I find that roasting makes a beet have a stiffer drier texture (even with plenty of olive oil) so that I don’t roast them often.  I never boil beets.  In fact, I never boil anything.  I always steam vegetables.  I steam because that’s what my mother always did.  She steamed because she believed more of a vegetable’s vitamins and minerals were retained using this method.  I don’t know if that’s true but whenever a recipe calls for boiling, I steam instead.

This beet salad recipe can be served plain or it can be served on a bed of lettuce with feta cheese.  You can use any kind of beets.  I used a combination of golden beets and dark red beets.  Because I cooked them together the golden beets turned red.

To peel or not to peel?  I only peel off the rough parts of beets.  Sometimes this means I peel the whole thing but often it means I just peel the tops.  The golden beets were mostly smooth skinned so you can see a lot of it was left on.  My mother influenced me in this matter just as she did with steaming.  She believed that peeling vegetables removed some important vitamins and minerals and should only be peeled if the skin is tough or compromised in some way.  You will find that I rarely suggest peeling vegetables in my recipes.  You can always peel if you prefer it.   

golden beets 2.jpgLemony Beet Salad
Serves 4 to 6

8 medium sized beets, cut into 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

To serve as shown in the picture:
(ingredients are per person)
2 cups lettuce
1 to 2 oz feta cheese
1 tbsp vinaigrette to dress lettuce


Fit a pot with a steamer basket, fill with water up to the basket (but not above), bring water to a boil.  (I have a steamer pot and prefer it to the baskets but either will do).  Add the cubed beats and steam for 15 minutes*, or until tender enough to pierce easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl mix together the oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper.  When the beets are done steaming add them to the bowl and mix together with the dressing.  Toss it several times as the beets cool.

If you’re going to add the beets to a bed of lettuce, as shown in the picture, let the beets completely cool.  For each plate add two cups of lettuce tossed with a little vinaigrette, scoop about 3/4 cup of the lemony beets onto the bed of lettuce, and top with some crumbled or cubed feta cheese.

macro beet salad 2.jpg

Recipe notes:  If you’re vegan you can leave off the feta and this salad will still be amazing.  I like the salty punch of the feta and if you’d like to have that same punch without cheese you can add a few Kalamata olives to each salad.  Croutons are also good here, but if too many extras are added I think you lose the fresh lemon flavor, so I prefer to keep it simple.  If you have baby spinach on hand that would be a great substitute for the lettuce.  I had this salad with regular spinach and I have to report that it was too tough to be enjoyable.

This recipe is Gluten Free
This recipe is Vegan if you omit the feta cheese

*I timed the steaming and 15 minutes was perfect, however, if you cut your beets a little bigger than I did it may take a few extra minutes.

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5 thoughts on “Lemony Beet Salad

  1. Aimee

    That is gorgeous! I’ll have to try it. I’ve never tried cooking beets. My parents disliked them, so they were never on my radar.
    I steam all my veggies, too (in the microwave, actually), except green beans. Those I blanch. That would be MY mom’s influence. 😉

  2. Angelina

    It’s funny what things we take from our parents and which ones we drop. I hope you like them if you try them. Steamed is good!
    Sudden only partially related thought: I’ve never made borscht and I feel a little guilty about it.

  3. lorelei

    Angelina..hope my previous msg got to you re
    leaving your homestead…I sort of rambled on..
    the Vata in me…and forgot to tell you howmuch I adore your site..it’s so awesome..never stop
    ..I am new to all this techy stuff but am finding
    so much inspiration from kindred spirits across the country and even the world..one site was a
    woman in Africa..oodles of great ideas!!..now if
    I could only get my homestead/space..or get my head wrapped around ..blooming wherever I’m planted..it’s so hard when you’re a Pisces and
    you get a vision and your imagination takes hold
    and then the world tilts and your swimming against the current! ..the waxing and waning of
    life….please keep writing…I absolutely adore
    your site…Jai again, Lorelei

  4. Angelina

    Hello Lorelei! You have a beautiful name. Thank you so much for all your compliments on the site! I’m happy when what I’ve put up here is useful or gives pleasure. There really are so many great blogs out there where you can find kindred spirits, as much as technology frustrates me at times, I think this is the greatest thing it’s brought to people- connecting kindred spirits.
    I say never stop dreaming of your little cottage and garden but until you have that try to do the things you want to do now, plant, cook, craft, write, whatever it is. It may not be perfect but you can bring yourself so much enjoyment and enrichment by making do. I learned to bake bread in a basement that was barely fitted up with a kitchen. It was not cute or pretty or snug but it had an oven, a square of counter space, and I made so much good bread come out of that crappy dark dank place- and it made me happy! I have to remind myself of this too.

  5. Lonnie G.

    Hi – I’ve looked at your lemony beets several times and decided that, yes, that looks very tasty, indeed; I think I shall have to try it! My mother used to make a sliced beet and onion salad which I enjoyed, too.
    I am so sorry about all you are going through – you are a strong woman and I’m glad to call you “friend.” What I can contribute will be citrus – the oranges have started to change color and some of the lemons are looking lemony, but need a few more weeks to taste lemony. Normally I tend to ignore the grapefruit, but knowing you like it, I can report it’s turning yellowish.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! This year we have something extra for which we are thankful: I was recently diagnosed with cancer – we are thankful that the doctors are talking “cure” and radiation and chemo start Monday with surgery probably in January, then more chemo. I am looking forward to boxing citrus for my favorite people (you first!). I meant to sort through the old photos of Rome for you a couple of years ago, but will try to do some of that while I’m recovering from treatments to keep my mind busy – so please keep in touch and don’t let me lose your address.
    Take care of yourself, give my love to your family! ((hugs)) Lonnie

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