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Mediterranean Beets with Garlic and Olive Oil

This Mediterranean Beet Salad is easy to make and full of flavor. It’s made with simple ingredients and can be served hot or cold as a side dish or salad. It’s perfect for meal prep as the salad keeps pretty well in the fridge.

Top view of the Mediterranean Beets with Garlic and Olive Oil on a plate standing on grey background.

Beets are one of my favorite vegetables. I know many people say they don’t like them, but I am convinced that they just haven’t had beets that were properly prepared.

Why You’ll Love This Beet Salad Recipe

  • It’s very budget-friendly. Beets are usually priced very reasonably, and they store well in the fridge, so feel free to stock up.
  • It’s very nutritious. All the ingredients of this Mediterranean beet salad are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • This recipe is great for people with various dietary preferences. This healthy plant-based dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
  • This salad has a low glycemic load. Beetroot has a medium glycemic index of 64 but is super low on the glycemic load scale with the GL of 4.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Red Beets: Beetroots are a nutritional powerhouse full of fiber and other important nutrients. For this salad, you will need cooked beets. You will find the instructions for cooking beets below.
  • Garlic Cloves: Garlic adds a layer of flavor and freshness to the salad. The recipe calls for two garlic cloves, but feel free to add more if you love garlic. Garlic is full of amazing nutrients, so the more, the better.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The rich aroma of olive oil adds deep Mediterranean flavor to the dish. For salad dressings, always use high-quality extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil.
  • Sea Salt: Salt enhances the fresh, earthy flavors of the whole dish.
  • Cilantro: This popular herb adds a deep peppery flavor to the salad. If you don’t enjoy cilantro, you can go ahead and use parsley.

How To Cook Beets

You will first need to cook the beets for this Mediterranean beet salad. I’ve listed three ways to cook beetroots for this recipe. Feel free to use whichever one works best for you!

Keep in mind that the time might vary depending on the size of the beets.

  • To roast the beets, place them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 F for 1.5 to 2 hours or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
  • To boil the beets, place them in a pot. Add water (make sure the beets are fully submerged). Bring the water to a boil and cook the beets for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
  • To steam-roast the beets, place them in a baking dish. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure the foil doesn’t touch the beets. Place in the oven and roast at 425F for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.

These are brief instructions. For more detailed cooking techniques as well as tips and tricks on how to buy, prep, and store beets, check out my post How to Cook Beets: 5 Easy Methods + Tips and Tricks.

A close-up side view of Mediterranean Beets with Garlic and Olive Oil on a plate.

How To Make Mediterranean Beet Salad

Step 1. Cook the Beets.

Cook beets according to the desired cooking method (see above).

Step 2. Prep the Cooked Beets.

Once the beets are cold, peel and chop them into bite-size chunks.

Step 3. Mix Everything Together.

Place the beets in a bowl and gently toss with chopped garlic, olive oil, and cilantro. Season with salt to taste. You can serve them right away or put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

Recipe Tips

  • If you buy a bunch of beets with the greens still attached, make sure you remove them ASAP because they go bad very fast.
  • Don’t toss the beet greens. They can be used in soups or cooked the way you would cook other greens, such as collard greens or kale. Fresh beet greens make a great addition to fresh-pressed juices.
  • Beets take a long time to cook. If possible, choose medium-sized beets and make sure they are similar in size, so they cook at the same rate.
  • To check the beets for doneness, insert a fork into each beet. You should be able to pierce them with very little pressure, and the fork should be able to slide right back out.
  • Beet juice can leave stains, so be sure to wear gloves and protect your surfaces when handling beets.

Flavor Variations

Try adding a splash of good balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a boost of tang.

This simple beet salad also tastes great with some added texture like the crunch of chopped walnuts or soft crumbled feta cheese, goat cheese, or Greek yogurt.

You could also bulk this salad up by adding more cooked root vegetables like sweet potato. Chopped kale, sliced cucumber, and/or a few slices of red onion would also taste great tossed in.

Experiment by adding different herbs such as fresh mint, basil, or dill.

If you’d like to add a little heat, stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes, cayenne, or chili powder.

How To Serve Mediterranean Beets

There are so many ways to serve cooked beets that I could probably write a cookbook dedicated to only healthy beet recipes. This Mediterranean beet salad flavored with garlic and olive oil is one of my favorites because it pairs well with a variety of dishes.

You can serve it as a part of a vegetable and grain bowl on top of quinoa or black rice.

This beet salad is great served tapas-style with an assortment of small plates like creamy baba ganoush and Mediterranean roasted eggplant salad.

You can also serve it cold on top of a bed of fresh arugula or any fresh green. The bold, fresh flavors of these beets are a great addition to any crisp salad.

A close-up side view of the Mediterranean Beets with Garlic and Olive Oil on a plate with a silver fork on the left.

Storing & Making Ahead

  • Storing: This Mediterranean salad keeps well in the fridge stored in an airtight glass container for up to 3 days.
  • Make-Ahead: The salad becomes even more flavorful when made ahead. Follow the recipe as is, leaving out the cilantro or any other fresh herbs. Add the chopped herbs before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use golden beets?

I don’t see why not. Golden beets taste almost identical to red beets. Not to mention, they don’t leave a magenta mess behind.

Can I use canned beets?

You can but keep in mind the flavor and texture of canned beets and fresh cooked beets are not exactly the same.

Can you eat the leaves of beets?

You sure can. Beet greens are great in soups or cooked as you would other greens such as collard greens or kale. If you are not sure what to do with beet greens, check out this Sauteed Beet Greens recipe. Beet greens also make a great addition to fresh-pressed juices.

Do beets go bad?

Beets have a great shelf-life, but yes, they do go bad. If stored fresh with the greens removed, fresh beets last about 2 weeks in the fridge. Cooked beets are best consumed within 5 days.

Mediterranean Beets with Garlic and Olive Oil

Mediterranean Beets with Garlic and Olive Oil

Yield: 4 portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

These Mediterranean Beets with Garlic and Olive Oil are really easy to make. They are full of flavor and very healthy. Serve as a salad or side dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds red beets, washed
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped

Instructions

How to cook beets:

  1. To roast the beets, place them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 F for 1.5 to 2 hours or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
  2. To boil the beets, place them in a pot. Add water ( make sure the beets are fully covered with water). Bring the water to a boil and cook the beets for 1 to 1.5 hours or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
  3. To steam-roast the beets, place them in a baking dish. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil making sure the foil doesn't touch the beets. Place in the oven and roast at 425F for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
  4. Important!. Always cool the beets before handling as they get extremely hot. Also, note that red beets will stain your hands and might also stain your dishes

To make the Mediterranean Beets with Garlic and Olive Oil:

  1. Peel and chop the beets. Place them in a bowl. Add chopped garlic, olive oil, and chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Notes

1. For the detailed instructions on different methods of cooking beets, check out How to Cook Beets: 5 Easy Methods + Tips and Tricks.


Nutrition Information
Yield 4 portions Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 159Total Fat 7.1gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5.9gCholesterol 0mgSodium 297mgCarbohydrates 22.2gFiber 6.4gSugar 15.4gProtein 3.8g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

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