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Overhead view of golden beet salad with goat cheese spread on bottom of plate, topped with pesto, pistachios and arugula on a wood surface.

Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Spread and Pesto

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sabrina Russo
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 main or 4 appetizer servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Spread may look like it’s from a fancy restaurant, but is actually easy enough for anyone to make at home.


  • 3 medium golden beets (~12oz), stems removed, washed
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Lemon juice, as needed
  • Kosher salt


  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt


  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios (from above)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 68 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt

Goat Cheese Spread:

  • 4oz creamy, fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 56 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt 
  • Kosher salt


  • Arugula, basil leaves or microgreens


  1. Cook beets: Add beets to a pot and cover with room temperature water. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until beets are tender. To check for doneness, pierce them with a paring knife. It should slide out without any resistance. Transfer to a bowl, cool slightly and peel. The skin should rub off easily with your hands. Slice in half lengthwise and cut into wedges. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Toast nuts: While beets cook, preheat oven to 350°F. Place nuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toss in oil and season with salt. Bake for about 8 minutes or until toasted and golden brown. Cool.
  3. Make pesto: In a food processor, add ¼ cup of nuts and garlic, and pulse until finely ground. Add basil and pulse until finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and pulse until well combined. Start with 6 tablespoons of oil and add more if pesto is too thick. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt to taste.
  4. Make goat cheese spread: Add softened goat cheese to a bowl. Stir in yogurt 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time until desired spreadable texture is reached. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Season beets: Toss beets with enough olive oil to coat, a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt to taste.
  6. Plate: Dollop a large spoonful the goat cheese spread onto serving plates, and spread using the back of the spoon. Top with beets. Drizzle over pesto, and sprinkle over reserved pistachios. Garnish with arugula, basil or microgreens, if desired. Enjoy.


  • You can use regular red beets or chioggia (candy stripe) beets for this recipe too.
  • You can roast the beets instead of boiling them.
  • Use store bought pesto to save time.
  • If you buy salted nuts, don’t add more salt when toasting.
  • You can skip toasting nuts to save time, although it does make a difference. 
  • You can use walnuts, pine nuts or almonds instead of pistachios in the pesto.
  • If goat cheese spread is too thick, use a few teaspoons of milk or cream to thin it out more.
  • You can use a lot more arugula or microgreens to make this more of a greens-heavy salad.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


  • Serving Size: 1/4 beets, spread, pesto
  • Calories: 425
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 220mg
  • Fat: 38g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 28g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg