Pickled Beet Salad with Clementine Orange is truly a specialty dish made with healthy whole food ingredients. It's packed with flavor and it is impressively easy to make.
Super greens, pickled beets, clementines oranges with soft creamy vegan cheese served with balsamic vinaigrette. This salad is very simple, yet it looks and tastes so gourmet.
Most beet salads are served just by cooking them till their fork tender. But pickling the beets just really intensifies the flavors so deliciously. It's sweet, tart, and buttery in all the tasteful ways.
You just need to steam and quick pickle your beets one day before (minimum). This process takes 25 minutes to steam and 5 minutes to pickle. After 24 hours of refrigeration, the pickled beet salad is ready to be assembled with all the other beautiful ingredients.
Ingredients for this salad
- Baby Spinach
- Pickled Beets - Must be done at least 24 hours before preparing salad. In my opinion, red beets are the tastiest; but I've sorted them with Chioggia beets for more vibrance.
- Clementines Oranges - Any orange will go with sweet red beets. My go-to is clementines because they are bite size.
- Microgreens - Available at Trader Joe's.
- Pickled Mustard Seeds - Used from the brine in the pickles.
- Cream Chive Cheese by Miyoko's Kichen -vegan cheese made with cashew milk. Very similar texture to soft cheese.
How to pickle beets?
There is a whole blog post on Quick Pickled Beets that I urge you to read and learn about different variations and find answers to frequently asked questions. Since this recipe is slightly particular with the pickling process, I'll go over the steps in this separately.
Here's what how to pickle once the beets are steamed for 25 minutes.
- First step - Add mustard seeds and garlic cloves to the mason jar.
- Second step - Add all the sliced beets to the mason jar.
- Third step - Submerge beets into a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar. Then add salt.
- Fourth step - Screw a tight lid, shake well, and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours before use.
Full recipe is in the recipe card.
Can you eat beets raw in a salad?
Yes, of course. Most raw beets are grated in salads or used as garnish. You can also pickle raw beets, if you wish not use heat. However the texture of the beets will be more firm. It also helps to slice it in smaller bite size pieces, since they are more chewy.
If you prefer a soft and buttery texture, then I suggest you cook the beets by either steaming, roasting or boiling. Read more about different cooking methods for beets in my post about Quick Pickled Beets without Sugar.
Customize Your Salad
The world's most versatile dish is a salad. You cannot ever go wrong with how you make it, and it's a great way to use up what's left in the frig. Here are some great variations and substitutions you can play around with.
- The greens - Other than baby spinach, you can also use baby arugula or spring mix. If you can't find micro-greens, then sprinkle in some fresh herbs; it will only bring a more refreshing flavors to each bite.
- Beets - Red beets are my favorite, but I've assorted it with Chioggia beets in this recipe. Golden beets are also popular in salads, but they don't pop out as much with the clementine oranges. Side note: you can skip the pickling process for the beets, if you prefer. Just remember to cool down your beets before assembling your salad.
- Add or switch the fruit - Beets are well paired with a citrus fruit like oranges; Mandarins and Blood Oranges can be great substitutes. Or you can add or sub for another fruit; go with peaches, nectarines, apples, etc.
- Add some protein - Walnuts or pecans are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Both will go well with this salad.
- Soft cheese - There are several amazing options now days when it comes to vegan cheese. I recommend going with soft cheese type of texture for this recipe. Vegan crumbled feta and blue cheese are also great options by Follow Your Heart.
- Dressing - Personally, I like the old fashion balsamic glaze with my pickled beet salad. I simply drizzle it before serving. Check out this recipe for a Homemade Balsamic Glaze. For a more simplified cooking method, try Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette or Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.
More Beet Related Recipes
- Quick Pickled Beets without Sugar
- Warm Balsamic Kale Salad
- Roasted Beets & Fennel Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Sala
- Homemade Balsamic Glaze
- Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Pickled Beet Salad with Clementine Orange
Ingredients to Pickle
- 2 cups beets peeled and sliced
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar optional
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds or yellow mustard seeds
- 3 cloves garlic
Method to Pickle
- To cook the beets - Peel, wash, and slice the beet (as desired). Put your sliced beets into a steam basket and steam over boiling water for 25-30 minutes. Once the beets are fork tender, set them aside and let them cool down. When cooled down, then place them in a sterilized mason jar (10 t0 12 oz).
- To make the brine - In a small mixing bowl, add water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir well and keep aside.
- Add mustard seeds and garlic cloves to a mason jar (you might need 2 mason jars, if you don't have any large ones).
- Add peeled and sliced beets in the mason jar. Then add the brine liquid. Make sure the beets are submerged with the liquid.
- Screw the lid and shake the jar to evenly distribute flavors.
- Wait 24 hours before use.
Method for Salad
- Assemble salad - Layer all the ingredients on a platter in the following order (spinach, pickled beets, clementine, pickled mustard seeds, soft cheese, microgreens, and salt/pepper). Drizzle with a liberal amount of Balsamic Glaze or Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette or simply a 1:1 ratio of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.