Brighten up your plate with this beet orange salad. Sweet oranges and earthy beets combine for a refreshing side rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Since I’ve been on a baking kick lately, I decided to lighten things up around here with a simple salad! This beet orange salad is light, bright, and refreshing. Moreover, it’s super simple to prepare and requires an even simpler list of ingredients. The combination of red beets, orange, onion, and fresh mint in a light sesame vinaigrette is so palate pleasing. It celebrates fresh seasonal produce, every forkful is an excellent combination of sweet, earthy, tart, and nutty, and the hint of Asian flavors makes it all the more enjoyable.
Why You’ll Love Beet Orange Salad
- Colorful – The reddish-purple hue of the beets against the bright orange segments adorned with pops of green is lovely. You’ll want to dig in and experience the freshness firsthand.
- Lots of flavors – The sweet orange segments are the perfect counterpoint to the earthy beets, mint offers a nice cooling effect, and the dressing adds oomph to the salad. The sesame oil makes it quite distinct, while fresh lemon juice adds the acidity every good dressing needs.
- Easy to make – This recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes, making it an excellent option for a quick lunch or dinner side.
- Great leftovers – This salad keeps well in the fridge. It’s even better when chilled because time in the refrigerator gives the flavors a chance to meld.
Beet Orange Salad Ingredients Notes
To make beet orange salad, you’ll need the following:
- Beets: Choose large beets with firm, unblemished skin. I used red beets, but golden or Chioggia beets will work too. Although they are slightly less sweet, golden beets have a more mellow earthiness, while Chioggia beets taste like red beets and boast striking pink and white stripes.
- Oranges: This recipe calls for sumo citrus or navel oranges. I highly recommend sumo if you can find them. They are very sweet, seedless, and easy to peel. However, use navel oranges if a sweet-forward orange isn’t your thing. Although sweet, they are also mildly acidic. That mild acidity combined with the acidity in the dressing will give the salad a tangier flavor.
- Red onion: Super thin slices add an assertive spiciness to the beet orange salad.
- Mint: Fresh is the way to go.
- Sesame oil: Before making the vinaigrette for the beet orange salad, ensure your sesame oil has not gone rancid. Although a great ingredient, sesame oil is prone to rancidity, especially with improper storage.
A complete ingredients list with amounts is in the recipe card below!
How to Make Beet Orange Salad
- Cook the beets: After you give the beets a quick wash, place them into a pot and add enough water to cover them. Ensure the pot you select is large enough to prevent the contents from boiling over. Once that’s done, boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer the beets for 20 minutes or until they are easy to pierce with a fork, then drain.
- Prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds, and salt until well combined.
- Prepare the orange: Cut orange segments into bite-sized pieces with a paring knife or segment the orange. If you go this route, remember to remove all the rind, pith, and membrane when cutting around the fruit while following the curve of the citrus and cut right along the membrane for clean segments.
- Slice the beets: When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, halve them, then cut each half into thin slices.
- Assemble the salad: Add the beets, orange, red onion, and mint to a bowl, drizzle vinaigrette on top, toss, and chill before serving!
Variations, Substitutions, and Cooking Tips
Roast the beets – If you prefer roasted beets, wrap them in foil and bake at 400°F for 45 minutes to an hour. Roasting them is a good alternative to boiling as it will intensify their flavors, specifically their sweetness.
Use different citrus – Blood oranges or grapefruit can be used instead of sumo or navel oranges.
Use orange juice in the dressing – Especially if you took the extra time to segment the orange. During this process, you lose a lot of juice, so why not put that juice to use?
Add radish – Radish would work great in this beet orange salad. They have a lovely color and add an astringent bite. Slice with a mandolin if you have one.
Use another herb – Flat leaf parsley will work well, as would cilantro.
Storage and Freezer Tips
If you plan to consume the salad within a few hours, toss it with the dressing and chill until you are ready to serve. The extra chill time will give the flavors time to meld, resulting in a more flavorful salad. As for planning a day in advance, store the salad and vinaigrette separately and dress 15-20 minutes before serving.
- 2-3 large beets
- ½ red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 sumo orange (or navel) peeled and sectioned
- 2-3 fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- the juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbs. sesame seeds
- 1 pinch of salt
- To a medium-sized pot, add the raw beets and fill the pot with enough water so they are covered.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes (or until you can easily stick a fork through )
- Drain, then set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Cut each orange wedge into bite sized pieces. (I cut mine into thirds).
- Take each beet and remove the outer skin (this should come off pretty easily, but if you don't want to stain your hands wear gloves). Then cut in half, then into thin slices.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the oranges, minced mint, beets and onion then drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to combine.
- Place in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes before serving!
Try these delicious salads next!