This salad has all our favorites, colorful beets, tart apples, crunchy radishes, and perfectly peppery watercress. We topped it with a zingy mustard vinaigrette and sunflower seeds. The perfect side dish or weekend lunch!
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
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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.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Watercress- Watercress is an aquatic leafy green, which is why you always see it with its root bulb attached. Watercress THE 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.
- Roasted Beets- You can use red or golden beets for this recipe. Just like in our Vegan Poke Bowl recipe I always cheat and buy pre-roasted beets.
- Green Apple- I used a granny smith apple 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 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.
How to Roast Beets for a Salad
When making a small number of beets, like for a salad, I prefer to roast them individually in 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 either peel using a paper towel or by running under cold water. To peel with a towel, hold one of the beets in a paper towel and use it to the skin away. To peel under running water, turn on the tap and use your hands to rub. The skin should peel away easily; if it doesn't, the beets likely need to cook for a little longer.
Tips and Tricks
- For a crunchier salad use raw beets rather than cooked. Use a mandolin and thinly slice. Assembly the salad in the same manner.
- It can be tempting to dump everything into a bowl and mix together. By all means, go for it, just know that the beets will turn everything pink.
- If you want to pair cheese with this salad goat cheese and feta might be the obvious choices but I like it with crumbled blue cheese. It pairs well with the mustard dressing.
More Great Salad Recipes
We love veggies around here, especially salads. Check out our favorite seasonal salads, pin them for later!
- Sweet Potato and Walnut Kale Salad
- Citrusy Asian Inspired Shrimp Salad
- Tomato Salad with Crispy Garlic and Fresh Oregano
- Winter Salad with Beets, Avocado, and Grapefruit
Beet and Apple Watercress Salad
- small and medium sized mixing bowls
- 1 bunch watercress
- 4 medium sized beets pre-roasted
- 1 green apple
- 5-6 radishes
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp shallot minced
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Beet- Apple Salad
- Cut stems off of watercress. Thoroughly clean and dry.
- Arrange the sliced beets on a plate and top with the watercress.
- Thinly slice the apple and the radishes. Immediately place in a medium-sized mixing bowl and top with the vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
- Top the salad with the radish and apple mixture. Sprinkle on the sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.
- 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 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 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.