This peppery arugula salad studded with pickled beets, juicy oranges and creamy goat cheese is going to be your next lunchtime fave!

Overhead picture of an arugula salad with oranges, walnuts, pickled beets, microgreens and goat cheese

Fun fact: I hate beets. Or I guess hated beets? I am TRYING to like them. It’s a love hate relationship. Because I’m super impressed by the powerful nutrient profile of beets but have never been able to overcome the fact that they taste like…sweet dirt?

That is, until my mother-in-law made me this recipe. She makes it often. The simplest salad with pickled beets (how are these so much better it seems!?), oranges, walnuts, goat cheese and arugula.

I’m even slightly embarrassed to call this a recipe because it’s just too easy. But here we go.

Close-up of an arugula salad with bright oranges, walnuts, pickled red beets, microgreens and goat cheese

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Arugula: one of my favorite salad greens, full of flavor and pairs perfectly with the earthiness of beets

Pickled beets: Trader Joe’s has THE best pickled beets in my opinion!

Oranges: you can use cutie oranges or full size like navel, cara cara or blood oranges

Walnuts: roasted walnuts provide fabulous depth of flavor and crunch

Goat cheese: there is just something magical about beets + goat cheese. It adds the perfect creamy tang!

Microgreens: slightly optional if you can’t find them, but these add some extra flavor and interest!

Balsamic glaze: my favorite is the Nonna Pia’s balsamic glaze but most grocery stores will carry some variety of pre-made balsamic reduction

Extra virgin olive oil: opt for really great quality here! The organic extra virgin olive oil from Costco is ranked high in consumer reports

Honey: reinforces the sweetness of the beets and oranges and is just muah! Chef’s kiss.

Bowl of arugula salad with bright oranges, walnuts, pickled red beets, microgreens and goat cheese with a napkin, fork and small mason jar of water

HOW TO MAKE:

I mean, it really is painstakingly simple.

If your beets are whole, give them a little chop.

Peel the oranges and keeping them whole, slice into rounds.

If your walnuts are not already toasted, add them to a dry skillet over medium low heat and toast for 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.

Layer everything together: greens, citrus, beets, walnuts, goat cheese.

Give everything a drizzle with balsamic glaze, honey and olive oil.

Season with fresh cracked pepper and flaky sea salt because you’re fancy like that.

WHAT CAN I SERVE WITH THIS SALAD?

This arugula beet salad would be a beautiful side dish to serve with caramelized onion brie chicken.

My mother-in-law also frequently makes it alongside pesto salmon.

For an amazing brunch feast make this alongside the best breakfast casserole and morning glory muffins.

Or to keep things vegetarian pair with harvest veggie orzo!

arugula salad with bright oranges, walnuts, pickled red beets, microgreens and goat cheese

FAQ

Can I use fresh beets in this recipe?

Absolutely! Wash the beets well and slice into cubes or half rounds. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on a lined baking tray. Roast at 375 for 40 minutes.

How far in advance can I prepare this salad?

This is one I love to layer together up to 24 hours ahead of time and dress it with the balsamic glaze, honey and olive oil just before serving. Give the beets a little pat dry and assemble the salad. Keep it covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

Can I use a different type of salad green?

Although I’m very partial to arugula, this salad would be great with some added spinach, butter lettuce, romaine or red leaf lettuce.

I don’t like goat cheese, is there an alternative?

Sure, this is also fabulous with feta. For a dairy-free version replace the cheese with avocado!

If you love this salad you’ll also love…

Watermelon feta arugula salad

Harvest kale and quinoa salad

The best pea salad (also inspired by my mother-in-law!)

Alright beets, you got me to like you. If you’re a beet hater like me, this salad maaay just convert you.

Watch here to see how amazingly easy everything comes together!

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Bowl of arugula salad with oranges, beets, walnuts, goat cheese and microgreens

Arugula Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

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  • Author: Erica
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 as an entree salad, 4 as a side salad 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Chop
  • Cuisine: Bistro-inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This astonishingly simple salad is perfect for a light lunch or in addition to your next dinner spread!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 cups arugula greens
  • 2 cutie oranges
  • 1/2 cup pickled beets, chopped if whole
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • handful of microgreens (optional, but tasty!)
  • a generous glug extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic glaze
  • honey
  • fresh cracked pepper and sea salt

Instructions

Cube or slice the beets.

Peel the oranges and slice into rounds. Alternatively, you can break into segments.

If your walnuts aren’t toasted, add to a dry skillet over medium low heat and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

Layer the arugula, microgreens, oranges, beets, goat cheese and walnuts in a serving bowl or platter. Dress with several tablespoons olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze and honey. Season with lots of fresh cracked pepper and sea salt.


Notes

To make this vegan, swap out the goat cheese for sliced avocado.

This “recipe” is really not a recipe at all- just an idea! Feel free to add different salad greens, try with feta or parmesan, use almonds or pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts, etc.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup salad
  • Calories: 170
  • Sugar: 6.3 g
  • Sodium: 375 mg
  • Fat: 13.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.3 g
  • Protein: 5.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 6.5 mg