This post was last updated on May 21, 2020 by India
Roasted beet salad with apples, arugula, and orange za’atar vinaigrette is a show stopping salad with delicious ingredients that become magical when paired together! This salad has sweet roasted beets, crisp apples, crunchy walnuts, and salty feta on a bed of peppery arugula with fresh mint. This salad is drizzled with an addicting orange za’atar vinaigrette!
About Roasted Beet Salad with Apples, Arugula, & Orange Za’atar Vinaigrette
This salad may be one of my favorite salads of all time and is inspired by a salad we had at The Preachers Son restaurant in downtown Bentonville. If you’re in Bentonville, you have to go here for dinner. We would take all our visitors to dinner here because it’s ran by a talented local chef with an ever changing menu, has the best ambiance (it’s set in an old church!), and is entirely gluten free! Every single thing! The chef has celiac, so wanted a restaurant where everyone could enjoy the food, but it’s not marketed as gluten free. Going there was like food freedom I haven’t felt since before I went gluten free. It’s honestly one of the best restaurants in downtown Bentonville. And they have a fun speak easy bar in the basement.
Because their menu is seasonal, you can’t fall in love with a dish and expect it to be on the menu the next time you’re there. But that is exactly what happened. I fell in love completely head over heels in love with this amazing beet and apple salad we had and when we went back it was gone. After I wallowed in my despair over not having the chance to have that salad again and then I realized I could make something similar at home, and I am very excited to share my recipe with you all. I hope you love it as much as I do ❤️.
Ingredients in this beet and apple salad
This recipe is all about the different flavors and textures from the ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make this Roasted Beet Salad with Apples, Arugula, and Orange Za’atar Vinaigrette:
- Beets. Beets lose any earthy flavors and become so so sweet when they’re roasted and peeled. This was my first time peeling beets after roasting and it’s so easy to do and makes a world of difference in flavor.
- Apples. I prefer to use gala apples because they’re so crunchy, crisp, and sweet. If you can’t find gala, you can use another crisp and sweet apple, like honey crisp.
- Arugula. Fresh peppery arugula compliments the sweet flavors from the beets and apples.
- Mint. I love the burst fresh mint in this salad. It pairs beautifully with the apples and beets and give some good flavor contract to the peppery arugula.
- Feta. Love the creamy texture and salty taste feta gives this salad. If you can find it, use feta in brine instead of pre-crumbled feta. I love the Dodoni brand found at Costco.
- Walnuts. For crunch. I love the earthy flavor of walnuts with the sweet beets and apples and fresh mint.
- Oranges. We will use both the zest and the juice in the Orange Za’atar Vinaigrette.
- Olive Oil. For roasting the beets and whisking the homemade vinaigrette. I use “extra virgin” in this recipe.
- Za’atar. If you’re unfamiliar with za’atar, it’s a middle eastern spice blend of savory herbs and spices. An authentic za’atar blend will have sumac, which is tangy middle eastern spice. You can either find za’atar at a specialty grocery stores (like Whole Foods) or amazon. You can use a homemade za’atar blend!
- Honey. I add a teaspoon of honey to the dressing for a bit of sweetness and to act as an emulsifier so the vinegar, orange juice, and oil cling together and the salad.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. To balance the sweetness from the honey and orange juice.
- Salt. To enhance all the wonderful flavors we’ve got going on in this salad.
- Pepper. For seasoning.
How to Make this Roasted Beet Salad with Apples, Arugula, & Orange Za’atar Vinaigrette
This salad may seem complicated, but it’s actually very simple to make when you break it down into 4 easy steps. Here’s how you make this Roasted Beet Salad with Apples, Arugula, and Orange Za’atar Vinaigrette:
- Prepare and roast the beets. If the beets still have their greens, trim the greens close to the beets leaving just enough of a top to hold. Scrub the beets clean. Place the beets on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and tightly wrap in the foil before roasting for about 40 minutes or until cooked through. Let the beets rest till cool enough to touch.
- Make the vinaigrette. While the beets are roasting, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, apple cider vinegar, honey. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil until it is completely emulsified. Add za’atar, orange zest, and season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Prepare the salad. Finely chiffonade the mint by stacking the leaves, rolling tightly, and finely slicing into thin ribbons. Place the arugula in a large bowl, top with mint and toss to combine. Add the crumbled feta, sliced apples, and walnuts before drizzling with the vinaigrette and tossing to coat.
- Add the beets and serve! Once the beets cool to touch, use a spoon to remove the tough outer skin. It should slip right off as in the photo below. Thinly slice the beets and place them on top of the salad before serving.
helpful Tips and Tricks for making this roasted beet salad
- Roast and then peel beets for optimal sweetness. When not prepared properly, beets can taste very earthy! I’ve tried peeling beets before roasting and it’s pretty difficult and they still keep a lot of their earthy flavor. Beets taste so much better when peeled after roasting. The skin will practically slide off once the beets are roasted. I like to use a spoon to gently peel off the skin, like in the photo above.
- Use a plastic cutting board for the beets. Beets stain everything! So avoid using a wood cutting board since they will stain the board. If you only have wood cutting boards, protect the board with parchment paper. If beet juice gets on counters or marble, wipe it away instantly to avoid staining.
- Dress and toss the salad before adding the beets. If you toss the salad with the beets, everything will be stained pink. I did this when I first photographed this and had to reshoot it the following weekend. The taste won’t be affected at all, but it doesn’t look as nice. To avoid this, toss all the ingredients together with the dressing before adding the beets and serving.
how to serve this Roasted Beet Salad with Apples, Arugula, & Orange Za’atar Vinaigrette
I love this salad as a colorful side to a larger meal, like Thanksgiving! If you want to make this a more filling meal, you can add some roasted or pan fried chicken or crispy chick peas to the salad!
Roasted Beet Salad with Apples, Arugula, & Orange Za'atar Vinaigrette
Roasted beet salad with apples, arugula, and orange za'atar vinaigrette is a show stopping salad with delicious ingredients that become magical when paired together! This salad has sweet roasted beets, crisp apples, crunchy walnuts, and salty feta on a bed of peppery arugula with fresh mint. This salad is drizzled with an addicting orange za'atar vinaigrette!
- 3 - 4 beets
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
Orange Za'atar Vinaigrette
- juice from 1 orange about 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons za'atar spice blend
- 1 teaspoon orange zest about half an orange
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 8 ounces arugula
- 1/4 cup mint finely cut
- 1 gala apple core removed and thinly sliced
- 6 - 8 ounces feta crumbled (see note 1)
- 1/2 cup walnuts crushed
Prepare and Roast the Beets
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If they still have their greens, trim the greens close to the beets, leaving enough of a top to hold. Scrub the beets clean.
Place the beets on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before wrapping in the foil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for approximately 40 - 50 minutes until the a fork can easily pierce the beets. Let the beets rest wrapped in the foil until cool to touch, about 10 minutes.
Make the Vinaigrette
While beets are cooking, make the za'atar vinaigrette. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, apple cider vinegar, and honey. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, constantly whisking until completely emulsified. Add za'atar, orange zest. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Prepare the Salad
Finely cut the mint by stacking the leaves on top one another, rolling tightly, and slicing into thin ribbons. Place arugula in a large bowl, top with the mint, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the thinly sliced apples, crumbled feta, and walnuts. Drizzle with the orange za'atar vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Once beets are cool to touch, use a spoon to peel the tough outer skin. Thinsly slice the beets and place on top of the salad before serving.
- Use feta in brine if you can find it. It has better flavor and texture than pre crumbled feta. I prefer the Dodoni brand I find at Costco.
- Use a plastic cutting board to cut the beets, since beets will stain a wood cutting board.
- Dress and toss the salad before adding the beets otherwise everything will be stained pink.
- To make this a more substantial meal, serve with cooked chicken or crispy chickpeas.
Make this Salad in Advance
You can roast and peel the beets and prepare the vinaigrette to make this salad in advance. This salad is best enjoyed immediately after tossing with the dressing.
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HELPFUL RECIPE INFORMATION
All recipes are tested and developed in my home kitchen. Unless otherwise stated, I always use extra virgin olive oil and this Himalayan pink salt in my recipes.