This roasted beet and feta salad is one of my favorite transitional recipes every year headed into the cooler months. It’s the best of both worlds: the heartiness of roasted beets in the context of a refreshing salad. It’s also the perfect balance of flavors; the citrus dressing is sweet and tangy, perfectly complimenting the earthiness of the beets, the peppery bite of arugula, and the saltiness of vegan feta.
Table of Contents
- How to Cook the Perfect Roasted Beets
- How to Make the Best Citrus Dressing
- What’s the Best Vegan Feta?
How to Cook the Perfect Roasted Beets
I always used to roast my beets whole in foil. I would scrub them, wrap them tightly in foil, and bake at 400°F for about 50-60 minutes, until tender. However, I’m always striving to cook more sustainably, so I wanted to find a way to cook them without using aluminum foil each time.
Nowadays I cut them into wedges, toss them with olive oil and salt, and simply roast them on a lined baking tray until they are tender. The key is to use a slightly lower temp than you would for other roasted veggies — a tip I picked up from the Cookie and Kate blog. This will ensure that the beets cook up perfectly tender, rather than getting crispy or overly caramelized.
Do you need to peel beets?
When preparing the beets, just make sure you scrub them well (they are a root vegetable, after all, just like potatoes or carrots). The skins are perfectly edible, and you don’t need to peel them. However, you can peel them if you’re not a fan of the texture.
How to Make the Best Citrus Dressing
This Citrus Dressing is absolutely perfect for this Roasted Beet and Feta Salad! It’s just the right balance of sweet and tangy, and it truly enhances the earthy sweetness of the beetroot alongside the umami from the feta.
All you have to do is whisk together all the dressing ingredients — except for the olive oil — in a mixing bowl or a glass measuring cup. Then continue to whisk while slowly streaming in the oil to emulsify everything (this keeps the oil from separating and floating to the top).
Another easy hack is to simply combine all the ingredients together in a glass jar with a lid, and vigorously shake to combine. The oil will separate after awhile, but you can simply shake it all up again when you’re ready to drizzle it onto your salad.
If you’re new to making homemade salad dressing, you’re in for a treat! From-scratch dressing is so much fresher and more flavorful than the stuff that you buy off the shelves. Plus, you can get creative and substitute in any of your favorite herbs, oil, or vinegar.
What’s the Best Vegan Feta?
Nowadays there are a few vegan feta cheese alternatives on the market! Here are the ones we have tried and can recommend for this roasted beet and feta salad:
Follow Your Heart Dairy Free Feta Crumbles
The Follow Your Heart Dairy Free Feta Crumbles are the most widely available option where we are located, so it’s the vegan feta we have personally purchased the most times. It’s available at many Kroger family stores — check where you typically find tofu and other vegan cheese options. The flavor and texture are great served cold (as in salads) or melted. They cost about $4.99 per 6oz at the time we’re writing this.
Violife 100% Vegan Just Like Feta Block
We’re big fans of Violife as a brand, and their 100% Vegan Just Like Feta Block definitely does not disappoint! It is not as widely accessible as the Follow Your Heart brand, but we can find it at certain Kroger-owned stores and at Whole Foods. It comes in block form so you can crumble or cube it to add to your salads. It has a softer texture than the FYH feta crumbles — it’s basically spreadable. It costs $5.49 per 7oz at the time we’re writing this.
Trader Joe’s Vegan Feta Cheese Alternative
If you have a Trader Joe’s store near you, you’re in luck! They are constantly churning out new vegan-friendly products, and their Vegan Feta Cheese Alternative is delicious! I grab a block every time we’re there (and I went through wayyyy too much of it when the baked feta pasta was trending on TikTok). It comes in a plastic tub in a salty brine. It costs $4.29 per 7oz at the time of writing.
Homemade Vegan Feta Made of Tofu
If you prefer to avoid processed vegan cheeses, I have a homemade Vegan Feta recipe that’s made of cubed tofu marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic, and Mediterranean herbs. It isn’t the most convincing alternative, but it is very delicious in its own right. Plus, it packs some extra protein into the dish!
Roasted Beetroot and Feta Salad
- 1 1/2 pounds beets (about 3 large beets or 5 small ones)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Citrus Herb Dressing
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider or red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot or red onion
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the Salad
- feta crumbles (we use Follow Your Heart Vegan feta)
- toasted pecans
Roast the Beets
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
- Wash the beets thoroughly. The skins are perfectly fine to eat, but if you don't enjoy the texture, you can feel free to peel them at this stage.
- Cut off the very base and tip of each beet, then cut in half vertically. Cut each half into roughly 1/2" wedges.
- Transfer beet wedges to lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss with your hands to coat, then arrange beets in one layer.
- Roast beets for 20 minutes. Give them a flip, then return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until beets are tender enough to pierce easily with a fork. You can prepare your dressing while they bake.
Prepare the Citrus Dressing
- Add all of the dressing ingredients *except* for the olive oil into a mixing bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together.
- Drizzle in oil slowly while whisking to emulsify. (Alternatively, you can add all ingredients to a small jar, seal with a lid and shake vigorously to combine.)
- Taste dressing and adjust salt to preference.
Assemble the Salad
- Salad can be served while beets are still warm from the oven, or after they have been chilled.
- Toss fresh arugula (or other greens of choice) with citrus dressing. If using kale, we recommend massaging the citrus dressing into the kale for the best flavor and texture. Top with toasted nuts, roasted beets, vegan feta, and any other toppings you'd like.