Healthy raw beetroot and feta salad with apples, crisp and delicious autumn or winter beet salad with a simple vinaigrette.
A super simple raw beet salad with feta, apples and sunflower seeds. So good, you will keep making it again and again.
If you haven't had raw beetroot before, you should definitely give it a try, raw beetroots are amazing. Not against cooked or roasted beets, they are delightful as well, but raw beets are really something special: crisp and refreshing, sweet and earthy in flavor.
This beetroot and feta salad is a great way of introducing your taste buds to fresh, raw beetroot. The intense sweetness of the beets is perfectly balanced by the slight tanginess of the apples and the saltiness of the feta cheese. Add those amazing roasted sunflower seeds and you will be in heaven.
What do fresh beets taste like?
Many people avoid buying and eating raw beetroot, fearing the earthy flavor they might have heard of, some people even go as far as to say that beets taste like dirt!!!! But don't be afraid, give raw beets a try, once you know the taste, you will love it!
Apparently, “the earthy taste of beets is due to an organic compound which microbes produce in the soil, a compound called geosmin. This compound also gives off an earthy smell of a freshly plowed field. Spinach, lettuce, and mushrooms also have high geosmin .”
Benefits of eating raw beetroot
Eating raw vegetables is always a good idea when you think about nutrients and health benefits and raw beetroot is no exception.
- For instance, they are a good source of fiber, folate, iron, vitamin C, zinc, copper, and so on, some of these components are good in boosting immunity.
- Low in calories, thus good for weight loss.
- Good source of nitrates, which can help keep the blood pressure in check, and, apparently, raw beetroot is even better than cooked beetroot in this regard.
- Studies have shown that they can increase athletic performance. Athletes consume beetroot juice a couple of hours before training and competing to improve the use of oxygen and delay the point of exhaustion.
- They have anti-inflammatory properties.
- The fiber in beets helps with digestion.
- They might help support mental help by increasing oxygen flow.
- The antioxidants they contain might help in cancer prevention.
How to make raw beetroot salad?
Roast the sunflower seeds:
- Heat a large non-stick pan on medium heat.
- Roast the seeds for a few minutes until golden and fragrant.
- Shake the pan often, so that the sunflower seeds can become golden on both sides without burning.
- Don't leave the pan unattended, stand by, and shake it often.
- Wash the roots to remove any dirt. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Wear latex gloves, if you are worried about staining your skin.
- Slice very thinly. Use a large chef's knife. For more accurate slices, use a mandoline. (Amazon affiliate links)
- Set aside in a bowl. Keep the beetroot and apple slices separate.
- Quarter the apple, remove the core, and cut the apple quarters into thin slices as well. Immediately toss the apple slices with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, this will help prevent the apple from getting brown. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil and sugar. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- Add about ⅓ of the dressing to the bowl containing the beetroot slices. Toss gently to coat
- Add about ⅓ of the dressing to the bowl containing the apple slices. Toss gently to coat.
- The reason I advise tossing the beets and apple slices with the dressing separately are purely esthetical, otherwise, the apple slices will turn pink.
- Arrange everything on a platter.
- Crumble the feta cheese on top and sprinkle the sunflower seeds and the chopped chives all over.
- Drizzle with the remaining dressing.
How to serve?
Serve the raw beetroot salad immediately.
This dish is also a great side dish for chicken, for instance. Why not try it together with the skillet chicken breast, prosciutto wrapped chicken, crispy Parmesan chicken or chicken breast fritters?
It also makes a light yet satisfying meal on its own as well. Serve it with some whole wheat bread, yogurt bread, or crispbread to make it more filling.
More recipes with beetroot:
Salad a la Russe
Beetroot Crepes with Cream Cheese Filling
Roasted Beetroot with Chickpeas
Raw Beetroot and Feta Salad
- Beetroot feta salad:
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 4 medium beets about 12.5 oz/ 350 g
- 1 red crisp apple
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup feta 2 oz/ 60 g
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons good quality vegetable oil sunflower or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- Roast the sunflower seeds in a non-stick pan on medium heat until golden. Shake the pan very often. Remove the seeds from the pan immediately and leave to cool on a plate.
- Wash and peel the beets using a vegetable peeler (Note).
- Slice the beets very thinly or use a mandoline for more regular, nicer slices. Place in a bowl. Set aside.
- Quarter and core the apple. Slice thinly. Place the slices in another bowl and toss gently with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Set aside.
- Dressing: mix oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss the beetroot slices with ⅓ of the dressing.
- Toss the apple slices with ⅓ of the dressing.
- Arrange beetroot and apple slices on a serving platter. Crumble the feta cheese on top and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and chives.
- Drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve as suggested above.
I am loving beetroot these days!. beetroot and feta is a new combo to me. Will try this for sure.
A perfect Fall salad!
Kelly | Foodtasia says
Oh yum, Adina! I'm so craving this beet salad! Our supermarket always has fresh beets, but I always cook them. I didn't even know they could be eaten raw! I guess I do drink the raw beet juice! This salad looks so delicious and the feta goes so perfectly with the beets!
I made this a few month ago for a family potluck picnic with ten of us. I used one red beet and three golden blush beets I had on hand. I couldn't have been happier with the finished salad! Not only delicious, but the extra color made it visually beautiful. My chives had browned, so I used a bit of Italian parsley instead.
This Thanksgiving, no one is likely to eat this at the big dinner, so I'll make this for the next day, where "light fare" will be welcome.
TruthNote: only two in my family will eat beets, at least roasted &/or pickled. This summer, though, I picked up two converts who found this salad was quite tasty. (sigh) -Food by food, expanding the healthy palates of young family.
Hi Betsy. It's nice to read your comment. I would love to use different colored beets as well, but they are so difficult to find, your salad must have been gorgeous. I've also managed to convert a friend to eating beets years ago, with another similar raw beet salad. It's funny, we don't often talk about food, but it seems to me like every time she tells me about what she cooked recently, it was something with beets. I have to smile every time. I am still waiting for my kids to start eating beets, though... they are not quite there yet. 🙂