A colorful beet salad makes a wonderful and versatile side for just about any meal! This beet salad with feta and cucumbers recipe is simple to make, yet fancy enough for company. I love the sweet and earthy flavor of beets and their tender yet slightly firm texture. Make this salad when you are looking for a nutritious, low-calorie, and unique option to accompany your meal.
You can prepare the beets in various ways before adding them to your salad – roast, boil, steam, it’s all good. These vegetables are generally in season during the fall and winter months, making them a great addition to cold-weather salads when other fresh produce might be limited. Beets come in various vibrant colors, including deep red, golden yellow, and even striped varieties. I mostly use red beets as they are the easiest to find, but the other colors can make your salad even more visually appealing.
Here’s a tip to simplify the process – you can purchase beets at Costco that come in vacuum-sealed packages, already peeled and cooked, that are delicious! Once you open one of the vacuum-sealed packages, the beets should be kept in the refrigerator and last up to three days. The unopened packages are good for about five months. Be careful when you open the package as the red beet juice can stain your clothes and countertop.
Health Benefits of Beets
Beets are super healthy! These vegetables are nutrient-dense and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By adding beets to your salad, you boost its nutritional content, providing your body with a variety of essential nutrients. One beet is approximately 30 calories with zero grams of fat, 85 mg of sodium, six grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. The sugar content may seem a little high but it’s natural sugars.
Here are some of the key health benefits beets provide when incorporated into a balanced diet.
- Rich in Nutrients: Beets are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, folate, and manganese. like folate, potassium, and vitamin C.
- Heart Health: Beets are high in nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health. Nitrate-rich foods like beets may enhance blood flow and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Improved Athletic Performance: Due to their nitrate content, some studies suggest that consuming beets or beet juice may enhance endurance and exercise performance by increasing oxygen efficiency in the muscles.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Beets contain compounds that may have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases associated with inflammation.
- Digestive Health: The dietary fiber in beets can promote digestive regularity and help prevent constipation. It also supports a healthy gut microbiome.
- Weight Management: As beets are low in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied, potentially aiding in weight management.
While beets offer numerous health benefits, they should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Beets can be enjoyed in various forms, such as roasted, boiled, raw, juiced, or blended into smoothies, allowing you to incorporate their health-promoting properties into your meals. As with any food, it’s essential to consider your individual dietary needs and consult with a healthcare professional if you have specific health concerns or conditions. (NOTE: Once concern with eating beets is that eating an excess amount may cause gout. Consume them in moderation!)
Colorful Beet Salad with Feta and Cucumber Recipe
Beet Salad with Feta and Cucumber
- 2 cups cooked beets chopped
- 1/2 large cucumber peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 3/8 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh or bottled
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the beets, cucumbers, feta and parsley in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Pour dressing over the salad ingredients and toss.
Adding Other Ingredients to a Beet Salad
This particular recipe is one of my favorites. However, there are many ingredients you can add to a beet salad to enhance its flavor, texture, and overall appeal. Here are some common ingredients and toppings that go well with beet salad:
Greens: Start with a bed of greens as the base for your salad. Options include arugula, spinach, mixed greens, or even kale.
Nuts: Toasted nuts like walnuts, pecans, or almonds add crunch and a nutty flavor to balance the sweetness of the beets.
Citrus: Slices of oranges, grapefruits, or mandarins can provide a refreshing, citrusy element that pairs nicely with beets.
Watermelon: During the summer months, people like to add watermelon to beet salad for a refreshing and juicy element that contrasts with the earthy, sweet taste of beets.
Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or basil can add a burst of freshness and aroma to your salad.
Avocado: Sliced or diced avocado can contribute creaminess and healthy fats to the salad.
Red Onion: Thinly sliced red onion adds a bit of sharpness and a pop of color.
Balsamic Reduction: A drizzle of balsamic reduction or glaze can add a sweet and tangy flavor to complement the earthy taste of beets.
Grains: Quinoa, farro, or couscous can be added to make the salad more substantial and filling.
Proteins: If you want to make your beet salad a complete meal, consider adding grilled chicken, roasted salmon, or chickpeas for plant-based protein.
Pickled Vegetables: Pickled red onions, cucumbers, or even pickled beets themselves can add a zesty kick.
Croutons: Homemade or store-bought croutons can add texture and a crunchy element.
Dijon Mustard: A Dijon mustard vinaigrette can provide a tangy and slightly spicy dressing.
Feel free to experiment with different combinations to create a salad that suits your preferences! Beets have a natural sweetness, so balancing their flavor with other ingredients is key to creating a well-rounded and delicious salad.
FAQs About Beets
Below are some commonly asked questions about beets, a root vegetable also known as beetroot, along with their answers.
What are beets?
Beets, also known as beetroot, are a type of root vegetable that come in various colors, including red, golden, and white. They have a sweet, earthy flavor and are often used in cooking and salads.
Are beets healthy?
Yes, beets are considered a very healthy vegetable. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Beets also contain antioxidants and nitrates, which may have various health benefits.
How do I store beets?
Store beets in the refrigerator. Trim the greens (if attached) and store them separately. Beets can be stored in a plastic bag or airtight container for up to two weeks.
Can you eat beet greens?
Yes, beet greens are edible and nutritious. They can be cooked and consumed like other leafy greens such as spinach or Swiss chard.
How do I cook beets?
Beets can be boiled, roasted, steamed, or even eaten raw. To cook beets, wash and peel them, then choose your preferred cooking method. Boiling and roasting are common methods.
What dishes can I make with beets?
Beets are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, pickles, and side dishes. They can also be used to make beet juice or incorporated into smoothies.
Do beets stain?
Yes, beets can stain your hands, clothes, and cutting boards due to their vibrant color. To prevent staining, wear gloves when handling beets, and be careful when cutting and peeling them.
Are there different types of beets?
Yes, there are several varieties of beets, including red, golden, and white beets. Some varieties are sweeter or milder in flavor than others.
Can you eat beets raw?
Yes, beets can be eaten raw when sliced or grated and added to salads or coleslaws. They have a crunchy texture and a slightly sweeter taste when raw.