My Beet and Blueberry Salad with Labneh and watercress is a dream team of super foods dressed up as a delicious and satisfying salad. A rainbow of beets, plus bright blueberries makes it a visual feast, as well.
Beets are one of those veggies that you don’t always associate with spring. They really come into season anywhere from June onward, and go through the fall. Here in California they’re actually in season 12 months of the year. But spring brings out the best, if you ask me. And there’s no better way to use colorful young beets than to highlight them in a salad. Pair them with blueberries, watercress, and labneh, or yogurt cheese, and you’ve got some serious nutrition going on.
The earthy sweetness of the beets goes especially well with the bright juicy sweetness of the blueberries, it’s a match made in heaven!
The popularity of beets has been trending upwards for the past few years, I like to think it has something to do with us food bloggers and recipe developers who love them and show them off constantly. Beets are earthy and sweet, and super healthy, they deserve the spotlight. Hint: mom would love to see a beautiful beet salad on her brunch table this Mother’s Day 🙂
Beets are super foods:
Beets are low in calories, but very filling and satisfying.
Beets contain pigments (betalains) that are antioxidants
Beets are anti-inflammatory
Beets can help lower blood pressure
Beets are full of vitamins and minerals
Can you eat beets raw?
Beets can be eaten raw or cooked.
- If using beets raw, peel them and then either finely slice them, shred them, or cut them into fine matchsticks. The smaller size is important because the beet it dense and this makes it easier and more delicious to eat.
I’ve used raw beets in many ways, but probably most often in salads or crudité platters. Pink, white, or golden beets are best for platters where diners will be using their fingers. (Red beets will stain fingers.) Pink Chioggia beets are gorgeous when sliced into rounds ~ they display a stunning pink and white spiral and have a great crunch.
You can make a delicious slaw or salad with raw beets, it’s vibrant and different. (Photo below is my Vibrant Winter Slaw)
The BEST way to cook beets (it’s steam roasting!)
- Preheat the oven to 425F
- Wash and trim the leaves from the beets, leaving about an inch remaining
- Put the beets in a casserole dish. If your beets vary greatly in size, use two casseroles and separate them by size so you can remove smaller ones when they’re cooked.
- Add 1/2 cup water to the pan. Cover tightly with foil.
- Cook for 50 minutes, then check, the point of a sharp knife should go in easily.
- Let sit until cool enough to handle, then slip off the skins.
Make ahead tips
- You can make the beets ahead of time for convenience. Peel them but don’t slice them and they’ll keep for a few days in an airtight container.
Beets tend to inspire strong feelings, one way or another. If you’re a fellow beet fan you might like to try some of my other beet recipes like this Wheat Berry Salad with Beets and Feta, for instance. The wheat berries give it substance, and it’s one of those salads that can be prepped on the weekend for a whole week of lunches. And for something similar to today’s salad, try my Beet and Burrata Salad, it’s just as pretty, but uses creamy burrata cheese in place of the labneh. Keep these recipes in the back of your mind for when you spot a rainbow of beets at the supermarket or farmers market.
Last but not least, don’t forget the crunchy pistachios ~ I recommend buying them in the shell, they’re best that way.
Beet and Blueberry Salad with Labneh
- 4-6 small to medium beets, various colors, cooked and cut into wedges
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 cup labneh, thick yogurt cheese
- 1 or 2 very thin slices of red onion, rings separated
- 1 cup blueberries
- handful of fresh dill fronds
- 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive or walnut oil
- 1/4 cup blood orange juice, or regular orange juice
- 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar, or other mild vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- pinch salt
- If you're starting with raw beets, preheat oven to 425F
- Rinse and trim the greens off the beets, leaving a little at the top. Put the beets in a casserole dish, or two dishes if you've got varying sizes: the smalls in one, and the larger in another. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan, then cover tightly with foil. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the point of a sharp knife goes into the beets easily. Let cool enough to handle, then slip the skins off.
- Trim the stem end off the beets and cut into small wedges. Keep the red beets separate from the others so the color doesn't bleed onto them. It helps to brush them lightly with olive oil.
- Arrange the watercress on a plate. Put the labneh in the center, and surround with the beet wedges, onions, dill, and blueberries. Top with the pistachios.
- Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together and taste to adjust any of them to your liking.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving. Season with fresh cracked pepper.
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