Pickled Beet Salad


Serve this easy make-ahead salad as an appetizer or side dish with heavier foods like grilled meats. It travels well on picnics inside a sealed glass container or wide-mouth jar.

Most pickled beets contain added sugar, but this recipe doesn't. The natural sweetness of the beets and white balsamic vinegar perfectly balances any acidity, so extra sugar isn't necessary.

I used golden beets because their leafy green tops looked freshest at the farmer's market last weekend. Red or Chiogga beets would work just as well. Of course, the color will be different.

I used rosemary because it's a sturdy herb that will stand up to pickling, and because I have some growing in my window garden. You can substitute another sturdy herb like tarragon if you wish.

My mandolin made quick work of slicing the beets and onion. If you don't have a mandolin, slice them carefully by hand.

  • 1 bunch beets, about 4 medium, greens reserved for another purpose
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • Cilantro leaves to garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Scrub the beets and wrap them together in a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side in.  Transfer the package to the oven and roast until tender, about 45 minutes or more. Set them aside to cool.
  3. While the beets roast, warm the water, rosemary, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, turn off the heat. Cover it and set it aside. Once it cools to room temperature, add the vinegar and stir until the salt is fully dissolved.
  4. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, rub away the skins, roots, and stems. (If the beets are organic and the skin is unblemished, leave the skins intact.) Slice the beets into medium slices, about 1/4-inch thick.
  5. Slice the onion into very thin slices, about 1/16-inch thick.
  6. Gently toss together the sliced beets and onion. Transfer them to a glass container or wide-mouth jar
  7. Pour the vinegar mixture over the beets. Use a spoon to gently stir the vegetables, making sure that the liquid fills up any air spaces. The vegetables should be submerged. If not, add more vinegar and water in equal amounts until they are fully submerged.
  8. Cover the container and place it in the fridge for 1 to 3 days.
  9. When ready to serve, strain the vegetables and transfer them to a serving dish. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve chilled or at room temperature.