This beet apple salad recipe has all of our favorites; colorful roasted beets, tart apples, crunchy radishes, and perfectly peppery watercress. We topped it with a zingy mustard vinaigrette and sunflower seeds for crunch.
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This is salad is zingy and tart with lots of texture and flavor. But we also love the bright and bold flavors. We serve this year-round, substituting other greens when we can't get our hands on good quality watercress.
📖Why This Recipe Works
This beetroot salad perfect side dish for weekend lunch! It is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free, and vegan. This is a healthy recipe with loads of color. It has a great texture thanks to the crunchy fresh apples and radishes.
Roasted Beets- You can use red beets or golden beets for this recipe. Just like in our Vegan Poke Bowl recipe I often take a shortcut and buy pre-roasted beets. Or you can roast your own.
Watercress- Watercress is an aquatic leafy green, which is why you always see it with its root bulb attached. Watercress is a superfood, according to a study published by the CDC.
But it can be hard to find, so if it isn't available we recommend substituting arugula, both have a peppery flavor. Or baby kale, spinach, or microgreens. If you bought fresh beets and they came with the greens, you can cut them off clean them, and use the beet greens instead of watercress.
Green Apple- I used a granny smith apples but any tart, firm green apple works.
Radishes- This recipe uses a basic radish but a french breakfast radish or even watermelon radishes would work.
Sunflower Seeds- This salad needed a nut or seed addition and sunflower seeds hit the bill. You can also try pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds) or walnuts. Always unsalted!
Mustard Vinaigrette- A tangy homemade dressing of dijon, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar. If you aren't a fan of mustard try our poppy seed vinaigrette.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
💭 How to Roast Beets for a Salad
When making a small number of beets, like for a salad, I prefer to roast them whole, with peels still on, and in aluminum foil.
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Prepare the beets. Cut If the beets still have their leafy tops, cut off the tops close to the tops of the beet, leaving about 1 inch of stem for you to grip. You will need this later! Clean the beets thoroughly, then place on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil. Wrap them loosely in the foil. It is easiest to wrap them individually as beets tend to vary in size and will be done at different times.
Roast the beets. Place the wrapped beets directly on the oven rack. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes. Beets are done when a fork slides easily to the center of the beet.
Peel the beets. Set the beets aside until cool enough to handle. You can peel using a paper towel or with a butter knife or spoon.
⏲️How to Make Beet Apple Salad
This recipe comes together in a snap. All of the time is in properly prepping the vegetables.
Step 1- Prep
Watercress is notoriously sandy and dirty. Take the time to properly wash it.
To clean the watercress, start by cutting off the stems. Then, rinse the watercress thoroughly under cold running water. Use your hands to gently swish the watercress around in the water to remove any dirt or debris. You can also use a salad spinner or a colander to rinse the watercress if desired.
Once the watercress is clean, be sure to dry it thoroughly. You can use a clean towel to pat the watercress dry, or you can place it in a salad spinner or colander and allow it to air dry for a few minutes.
Your beets, apples, and radishes should be julienned. Meaning cutting into thin matchsticks.
Step 2- Make the Salad Dressing
You can make this French-style dressing in a blender but I find it just as easy to add to a mason jar and shake until combined. season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Step 3- Assemble
Add all the salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl or directly into your serving dish. Drizzle over half the dressing. Gently toss with tongs. Add more dressing as desired.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- For a crunchier salad use raw beets rather than cooked ones. Use a mandolin and thinly slice. Assemble the salad in the same manner.
- If you want to pair cheese with this salad goat cheese and feta cheese might be the obvious choices but I like it with crumbled blue cheese. It pairs well with the mustard dressing.
This beet and apple salad recipe is best served immediately as the watercress doesn't hold up well once dressed. But leftovers will last for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To make for meal prep store the individual ingredients and store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge. I like to soak the apple in a bit of lemon water to prevent browning. You can then assemble at the last minute.
The mustard dressing will last up to 7 days when stored in the fridge.
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💬Frequently Asked Questions
The beets will turn the apples and radishes pink if tossed together. If you want to prevent that arrange the beets on a salad plate. Toss the remaining ingredients with the dressing and serve on top of the beets.
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Roasted Beet and Apple Salad
- 1 bunch watercress
- 4 medium sized beets pre-roasted
- 1 green apple julienned
- 5-6 radishes julienned
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
Beet- Apple Salad
- Cut stems off of watercress. Thoroughly clean and dry. Chop the remaining ingredients.1 bunch watercress
- In a large bowl add the apples, watercress, beets, and radishes. Pour over the salad dressing and gently toss to combine. Sprinkle on the sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.4 medium sized beets, 1 green apple, 5-6 radishes, ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- In a small mixing bowl combine the shallot, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, and a pinch of kosher salt. Whisk together to combine well. Slowly whisk in ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.1 tablespoon shallot, 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt and pepper
- This recipe makes 4 appetizer or side dish portions or 2 main courses.
- It is recommended to serve this salad right away but leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
- To Roast Raw Beets- Trim the ends and place on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Wrap the beets tightly in the foil. Bake at 400 F degrees for 60 minutes, until fork tender. Unwrap the foil and use a paring knife to peel the skin off the beets. Chill before using.