Simple 10-Minute Red Beet Arugula Salad
This deliciously simple red beet arugula salad has everything you want in a good salad: crunchy walnuts and creamy vegan cheese, naturally sweet beets and peppery arugula. Best of all? You can whip it up in just 10 minutes (lemon Dijon dressing included!) with minimal chopping!
I really love beets…just how much? Well, I have one tattooed on my arm (really!!).
But this dietitian is going to be real with you: that doesn’t mean I love how much time they take to cook. When it comes to beets, I have two modes: making BIG batches of roasted beets and then using the leftovers all week long in different ways, from smoothies to salads to grain bowls….
….OR…buying those precooked beets in store. I do that a lot more than you think. In fact, this salad was born of my typical, “what am I going to have for lunch” moment where I gather a bunch of leftovers (including those precooked beets) in the fridge and make a salad. And that salad was so good, that I thought you might want me to share it with you!
Since I create plant-based recipes for a living, you might be surprised that I rely a LOT on time-saving hacks like buying precooked beets. But I’m also, like, a human, with a business to run and two kids to care for. I do not have hours to cook meals for our family! I like it fast, flavourful and nourishing. Which is what I try to do here on both here the blog and in my books, like Eat More Plants Cookbook.
Plant-based recipes for all eaters that fit into real schedules.
Hungry? Gather Your Ingredients!
This red beet arugula salad is a dream, because it requires just 7 ingredients, zero cooking and very little chopping.
- Pre-cooked red beets: this genius invention will save you SO much time, but if you have leftover roasted beets on hand, bonus! You can also use raw beetroot, just see the tips section.
- Baby arugula: prewashed, with a delicate peppery hit. What’s not to love? You could also use any prewashed salad mix with arugula too (like I did for the photos!)
- Sprouted grain or whole grain sourdough bread: we’re toasting bread and calling it croutons cuz this salad is all about speed! Also, they soak up the dressing SO well
- Vegan cheese: I like a vegan ricotta, feta or chevre-style cheese here. Choose your fave!
- Dill: fresh dill pairs beautifully with beets and I think it’s probably the most underrated herb in the garden!
- Walnuts: earthy, crunchy walnuts make a great counterpoint to soft, sweet beets but you could totally use any nut or seed you have on hand.
- Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette: you’ll want to make a double batch of this simple 4 ingredient homemade salad dressing because it goes well with so many salads!
How to make this simple red beet and arugula salad
My favourite part about this recipe? It comes together in just 10 minutes, including whipping up the fresh lemon Dijon vinaigrette, so let’s get at it!
Step one: make the lemon Dijon dressing by shaking up ¼ cup each olive oil and fresh lemon juice with 2 tablespoons Dijon, 2 teaspoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper in a mason jar.
Step two: toast the sliced bread on high so it’s really crisp.
Step three: add the arugula to a medium salad bowl or platter. Chop the dill and sprinkle it over the arugula.
Step four: slice the beets and arrange them over the salad.
Step five: Crush or roughly chop the walnuts and sprinkle them over top. Tear or chop the bread into small ‘croutons’ and add them to the bowl. Crumble the cheese over the salad.
Step six: drizzle over dressing if serving right away…or serve with dressing on the side!
Why beets are SO good for you
Leafy greens get all the superfood credit…but have you looked at the health benefits of beets lately?
- Beets are rich in betalains, a type of plant pigment, that are strongly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
- Beets are also a source of naturally occurring nitrates, which have been researched for their ability to support healthy blood pressure and improve athletic performance.
- From a nutrient perspective, beets contain smaller amounts of heart healthy potassium, as well as iron, manganese and zinc. They contain folate and are also an important plant-based source of choline, a nutrient that acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
FAQ: What is the difference between gold and red beets
Despite their different colours, both gold and red beets are super nutritious. Gold beets even have a type of betalain pigments called betaxanthins. I find that gold beets have a milder flavour than red beets but otherwise they are very similar. Use your favourite!
What to serve with this red beet and arugula salad
This salad is delicious on it’s own as a main dish…but it also makes a perfect side when paired with my crispy tofu triangles, chickpea “tuna” sandwiches or enjoy it with my cashew alfredo pasta to boost your veggies!
FAQ: What are the best dressings for arugula salad?
The peppery hit of arugula pairs well with a punchy dressing with a hint of sweetness, like the lemon dijon vinaigrette I created for this salad! But my creamy balsamic dressing would be delicious here too if you want an even bolder flavour.
Tips, Tricks and Substitutions
- You want to dress this salad RIGHT before serving. And, if you think you will have leftovers, I highly recommend you serve the dressing on the side. The salad will keep well in the fridge for 2 days undressed, but arugula wilts almost immediately if dressed.
- Don’t have cooked beets on hand? You can absolutely use raw beets…just grate them! You’ll probably only need one medium beet. More than that might be overkill.
- Baby arugula vs mature arugula: mature arugula (or rocket) has a stronger, even spicier flavour. If you love it, go for it! If you’re new to arugula, baby arugula is a gentler introduction to this flavourful salad green or you can opt for a salad mix with arugula.
- Make this salad a complete meal by adding some plant-based protein, like diced smoked tofu, my crispy tofu triangles or some roasted chickpeas
- Allergic to nuts? Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) would make a great nut-free alternative.
- If you have a bit of extra time, I highly recommend you make my homemade croutons. They’re next level!
More flavourful arugula salads
- Roasted Delicata Orzo Salad with Arugula
- Italian Farro Salad with Arugula
- Fresh Peach Arugula Salad with Vinaigrette
- Easy Vegan Pasta Salad
Simple 10-Minute Red Beet + Arugula Salad
- 6 cups packed baby arugula, or arugula salad blend
- 1 pound roasted beets, or store-bought pre-cooked beets
- 2 slices sprouted grain bread, or sourdough, or gluten free bread
- ½ cup raw walnuts, chopped or pumpkin seeds!
- ½ cup fresh dill, leaves and tender stems, chopped
- ½ cup vegan ricotta, feta, or chevre-style cheese
- 1 batch Fresh Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
- Shake up the lemon dijon vinaigrette in a mason jar: 1/4 cup each fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of cane sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Arrange the arugula in a medium salad bowl or platter. Scatter over the chopped dill.
- Toast the bread on high so it's nice and golden and crispy. Slice the beets and add them to the salad.
- Sprinkle the walnuts and the vegan cheese over the salad. Tear or chop the bread into small crouton-like pieces and arrange over salad.
- If serving right away, drizzle the salad with dressing. Or, serve with all the dressing on the side so guests can serve themselves.