Beetroot and feta salad is my new summer salad obsession. It’s hearty enough to be a main meal, and it’s perfect for potlucks! Read on for tips on how to make beets quickly, and snag the recipe for this grain salad. It’s packed full of arugula, feta cheese, crunchy pistachios, and a scoop of barley with a tangy honey mustard dressing.

Rectangle platter of beets on rocket with barley.

Beetroot and Feta Salad

If you know me in real life (or follow me on instagram, which is mostly the same thing), you’ll know that my husband is vegan. He went vegan for health reasons, and it cleared up all of his health issues. It’s kinda crazy how well it worked for him, and I’m so proud of him for doing it and sticking with it. At first, I was intimidated on how to come up with recipes that the whole family could enjoy with only a few modifications for him. However, we’re about 6 months into doing it, and it’s getting easier everyday.

To cook something that the whole family can enjoy (vegan and non-vegans alike), I basically make something vegan as a base for him. Then, I add extra protein or dairy products for me and the kids. If you’re wondering, my husband gets plenty of protein eating beans, snacking on nuts and drinking smoothies fortified with protein, like my protein smoothies recipes.

This beetroot and feta salad is our favorite meal that feeds everyone easily. My husband has it without the feta, and instead, enjoys the salty bite from the pistachios. I just serve the feta in a small bowl at the table to add.

For the kids, they will eat this salad deconstructed. I pile the beets in one corner of their plate, because my kids have always loved beets. I started them on beet applesauce when they were very young (a recipe for cherry beet puree  is in my baby food ebook), and they’ve always loved the slightly earthy taste of beets. Then, I sprinkle chopped pistachios over some plain yogurt on their plate. They will try a small scoop of barley with the dressing on it, too. Honestly, my kids won’t eat arugula (also called rocket), which I can completely understand because the taste can be complex for little kids’ palates. However, I put one piece of arugula on their plate to get them used to the idea of it, but as of now, they haven’t touched it. It’s totally fine, they will grow used to seeing greens on their plates, and hopefully try it one day.

Two plates of beet salad with arugula and feta.

But as for me, who mostly eats everything, I love a big bowl of this beetroot feta salad piled high with all of the ingredients. It reminds me of my nectarine salad that has so many delicious components. This salad has everything I love in it. To make it, I put the arugula at the bottom of a serving bowl. Then, I add the scoop of cooked barley. The barley just makes this salad heartier, plus I love the chewy grains in a salad. The diced beets go on top, followed by the crumbled feta and chopped pistachios. Drizzle the creamy honey mustard vinaigrette on top, and toss everything together. Just note that once you toss the beets, their hot pink color will begin to stain the whole salad pink. For a potluck or dinner party, I like to just lay them on top and stir them in right before serving.

Ingredients

  • beets: For this recipe, you need 2 medium beets that are about 3-4 inches in diameter each. They can be any color of beet.
  • vegetable broth
  • arugula: Also known as rocket, this peppery spicy little green comes bagged on its own or in a salad mix.
  • feta cheese
  • pistachios: Shelled, salted pistachios that are either whole or chopped are great for this salad. Other nuts that are great here: sunflower seeds or walnuts.
  • Dijon mustard
  • honey
  • mayonnaise: We use vegan mayonnaise in our house, but the mayo made with olive oil is really great here, too.
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

How to make beetroot and feta salad:

  1. First, gather all of your ingredients: beets, vegetable broth, arugula, feta, pistachios, Dijon mustard, honey, mayo, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
    Ingredients for beetroot and feta salad on a white table.
  2. First, let’s cook the beets. My favorite way to cook beets is by lopping off the tops (save the nutritious greens for a smoothie or juice), and then using a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Dice the beets into bite-size pieces, and place in a steamer basket. Place the basket over simmering water for about 15-20 minutes. Ensure the water doesn’t touch the beets while cooking. The beets are done when they are just barely fork-tender.You can also cook beets in the instant pot: trim off the beet greens, place them on the wire rack inside the instant pot. Add 1 cup of water. Pressure cook for 15 minutes on HIGH. Allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, and then release the valve. Let the beets cool long enough to handle, and then slip off the skins before dicing. Let the beets cool while we make the rest of the beetroot and feta salad.
    Cooked beets in a white bowl.
  3. Next, let’s make the barley. Combine the quick-cooking barley with the vegetable broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to LOW. Cover the pot and let the barley cook for 10-12 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
    Cooked barley in a white bowl.
  4. Make the dressing for the beetroot and feta salad: In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon, honey, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste the dressing, and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
    Creamy honey mustard dressing in a small bowl with a whisk.
  5. It’s time to assemble! Place the arugula in the bottom of a serving bowl. Add the feta, pistachios, and barley. Toss to combine gently, and then pour almost all of the honey mustard dressing on top. Toss to combine again. Finally, pile the beets on top of the salad, followed by the remaining dressing. Toss very gently, knowing that the beets will start to stain the salad ingredients, so serve immediately.
    Rocket and barley salad with beetroot.
  6. Sprinkle a modest pinch of salt over the whole bowl, and then serve.

Close up of beetroot and feta salad with rocket.

Can you use canned beets?

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of cooking beets from scratch, you can use canned beets or even pickled beets, if that sounds delicious to you.

What goes with beetroot and feta salad?

I love to follow my instructions for how to roast a whole chicken and serve that alongside this salad for a very fancy meal for guests.

What can you add to beetroot salad?

I think we’ve added a lot here: chopped pistachios, leaves of arugula, and a scoop of barley, but I supposed you could also add shredded chicken to make this more of a meal.

Other yummy meals:

Yield: 4

Beetroot and Feta Salad

Close up of beetroot and feta salad with rocket.

Beetroot and feta salad with arugula, pistachios and a scoop of barley.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beets (about 3-4 inches in diameter each)
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups arugula (or other spring green)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios

Honey mustard dressing:

  • 2 TB Dijon mustard
  • 2 TB honey
  • 2 TB mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

    1. First, let's cook the beets: Cut off the beet greens (if necessary), and then use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the beets. Dice the beets into bite-size pieces, and place in a steamer basket. Place the basket over simmering water for about 15-20 minutes. Ensure the water doesn’t touch the beets while cooking. The beets are done when they are just barely fork-tender.You can also cook beets in the instant pot: trim off the beet greens, place them on the wire rack inside the instant pot. Add 1 cup of water. Pressure cook for 15 minutes on HIGH. Allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, and then release the valve. Let the beets cool long enough to handle, and then slip off the skins before dicing. Let the beets cool.

    2. Next, let's make the barley: Combine the quick-cooking barley with the vegetable broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to LOW. Cover the pot and let the barley cook for 10-12 minutes, or until tender. Drain the barley, and set it aside to cool.

    3. Finally, make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon, honey, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper. PHOTO

    3. In a salad serving bowl, toss together the arugula, feta, pistachios, and barley. Toss to combine very well.

    7. Pour almost all of the dressing on the salad mix, and toss to combine. Add a pinch of salt while tossing.

    8. Finally, add the cooked beets to the top of the salad, and drizzle the remaining dressing on top. I like to serve the salad like this because once you toss the beets, the whole salad turns pink.

Notes

beets: For this recipe, you need 2 medium beets that are about 3-4 inches in diameter each. They can be any color of beet.
arugula: Also known as rocket, this peppery spicy little green comes bagged on its own or in a salad mix.
pistachios: Shelled, salted pistachios that are either whole or chopped are great for this salad. You could also use walnuts or sunflower seeds.
mayonnaise: We use vegan mayonnaise in our house, but the mayo made with olive oil is really great here, too.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 873mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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