Pickled Beets with Feta

I know it’s hard to find creative ways to prepare vegetables, which is part of the reason that I’ve been featuring a lot of vegetarian recipes recently.  And to come up with a dish that can not only act as a delicious side, but that can be presented as an entree as well, is an even greater challenge.

Eric and I picked up these beautiful beets from the Enterprise Farm produce stand a few weeks ago when we attended a breakfast that they were hosting.  Despite having a refrigerator full of wonderful fruits and vegetables at home, we just couldn’t help ourselves.  We’re both suckers for beets.

My immediate thought was to roast them, but, again, I wanted to do something a little different.  Instead, I poked around the Internet and came across this simple preparation for pickled beets.

What I really love about this recipe was how the addition of a few ingredients (the feta and onions) really elevates the dish.  In fact, we made this for lunch one weekend afternoon and found it quite substantial.

Pickled Beets with Feta

makes 6 servings


4 large beets, trimmed, peeled and cut into rounds, or 1 (15-ounce) can

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup chopped mint

1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rounds

6 cups arugula, watercress or spinach

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled


If using raw beets, trim greens from beets, but do not peel or cut into beet itself to minimize bleeding. Cover whole beets with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer beets to an ice bath to stop cooking. For canned beets, simply drain well.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper to taste and 1/4 cup of the mint. Place onion in a bowl, coat with some of the vinaigrette and allow to sit for 15 minutes to soften the onion’s bite.

Just before serving, toss all ingredients together in a bowl.

  • January 31, 2011 - 7:30 am

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - I'm loving the vegetarian recipes, keep 'em coming!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 11:43 am

    Lisa - One of my favorite things on a salad is roasted beets and goat cheese….I can just tell that this relative of that dish would be totally awesome! Thanks for the idea :)ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 11:56 am

    C Thornton - Just beautiful, Brian.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 12:14 pm

    Fun and Fearless in Beantown - I adore pickled beets! These look fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 12:16 pm

    Chef Dennis - hi Brian
    now thats a pretty salad! I love feta, and beets are certainly under rated, yours look delicious, much better than the canned variety!
    Glad to see you having so much fun with that glorious produce

  • January 31, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    Anonymous - ERIC! He looks so tender presenting that beautiful salad to us! I must admit as a child I HATED, even DETESTED beets. I thought they were creepy, and pickled? Even worse! Now, keep 'em coming. They are so delicious, I have fresh and pickled in my refrigerator right now. I'll have to put them together in a salad soon!

    Thanks for yet another good idea!


  • January 31, 2011 - 12:31 pm

    Paul Jennette - Great offering, seems to me there are not enough Beet recipes out and about. How did you guys keep your hands from turning purple??ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 12:39 pm

    Elizabeth - Chioggia beets are the most gorgeous things ever. Pickled is definitely one of my favorite preparations.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    Joy - Brian, these beets are just stunning. Have you had the golden yellow beets? They are slightly sweeter than the blood red or striped beets you feature here. I have a crisper full of beets from my CSA that I've been meaning to pickle and this will be the first recipe I use. I love beets too and one thing that always surprises me is how much my children love them. It's like some kind of parenting miracle.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 1:10 pm

    wenderly - My husband will go bonkers for these!!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    THE Tough Cookie - You live such civilized life…what a beautiful dish to have for lunch. Gorgeous as usual, Brian.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 1:23 pm

    RJ Flamingo - You have such an eye for color – just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 1:31 pm

    Stephanie - That looks amazing! And so fresh and delightful! I would reckon you could serve this for V-day!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 1:47 pm

    Megan - What a beautiful salad! A nice change of pace from the ordinary lettuce salad.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 2:00 pm

    foodwanderings - I love the idea of picked beets Bri. Can't remember when did I have it last. Love the addition of mint and onion and the beet color the onion got & nice shot of Eric:)ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 2:04 pm

    Asha @ FSK - Me like!! I actually detested beets until last year when I roasted them for the first time and figured they weren't so bad after all.. been looking for a pickling recipe since!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 2:21 pm

    Sprinkles of Parsley - Absolutely love this! I can't wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 2:35 pm

    Jamie - Those beets are so beautiful! I rarely eat beets and if I do they need to be mixed with flavors like what you have added, mainly feta! I also so love your addition of arugula and those spices! This is really a great salad and one that would even get beet-doubters to eat beets!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 3:33 pm

    Kudos Kitchen - I'm not usually a beet fan, but with the feta, these sound really good. Love the addition of mint too.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 5:21 pm

    kat - To me this salad is a little piece of heaven & perfect for winter with the beets. Stumbled.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    danasfoodforthought - This sounds so delicious. I love roasted beet salads, and I bet I'd love the pickled version as well!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 7:44 pm

    Eat the Love - I adore beets. Sadly my partner does not like them, so we rarely make them at home. But your salad looks fantastic! I love the addition of the feta.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 7:45 pm

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - Ooh… Yum! I never know what to do with beets when we receive them from our CSA. I will definitely save this recipe!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 8:59 pm

    Angie's Recipes - This looks so fresh and delicious! I love the addition of feta…that gives the dish a nice colour contrast.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 9:43 pm

    Angela@RecipesFromMyMom - Such a tantalizing and lovely mix of ingredients. Eric looks very happy and is a great farmers market model :>ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 10:01 pm

    mywanderingspoon - Beautiful what a combo:)ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2011 - 10:04 pm

    themusingbouche - Haha. I had exactly the same thought about needing some color in my diet lately. And I also chose beets. :) Look forward to trying your iteration.

  • January 31, 2011 - 10:26 pm

    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle - I'm rediscovering some vegetables that I can only label as 'Misrepresented by the Rents' and I'm betting beets fall in there too. I'm thinking they would see the same resurgence in my diet as Brussels sprouts have since deciding to not boil them to death, right?


  • January 31, 2011 - 11:10 pm

    Cake Duchess - Hi Bri-Those beets look lovely and I can't get enough of feta cheese. How sweet is Eric in that photo. Just as charming as you:)Two sweet hearts.ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 12:01 am

    Lauren at KeepItSweet - I love pickled vegetables but have never made any myself. This might inspire me to try it out:-)ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 5:24 am

    Andrew Frishman - Mmmn. . . I LOVES me some beets! (you can't beet'em)

    Me encanta la remolacha. (una fanega y un beso). . .ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 11:12 am

    Raw_Girl - Beautiful beets – so vibrant and can only imagine what the garlic and vinegar would do to these beauties! Gorgeous pix, BTW:)ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 1:28 pm

    Lael Hazan @educatedpalate - Beets are now my youngest daughter's (7) favorite food! We like the tops of the beets too and often have them boiled. I love the idea of mixing in the feta.ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 2:55 pm

    SMITH BITES - I used to make pickled beets every summer because 'back in the day' regular beets weren't my thing . . . can you imagine?? but i love all beets now – those are some real stunners Brian!!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 3:34 pm

    Pavithra - Wow my fav one looks amazing.. awesome combo of feta and beets.


  • February 1, 2011 - 4:54 pm

    mywanderingspoon - Beets are amazing…this is my version…like yours because you have great feta:)

  • February 1, 2011 - 10:12 pm

    emily @ the happy home - stunning! i just had a nice beet salad while I was in NYC. reminded me of how they're the perfect rush of natural flavor when the world is covered in snow.ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 10:49 pm

    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. - I love everything about this recipe! These are all of my favorite ingredients!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 10:50 pm

    SaraOneTribeGourmet - I can't get enough of beets…I think I'm in love! I definitely love the feta combo! :)ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 11:34 pm

    Kita - I have never had a beet but this looks beautiful and I would love to try it!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2011 - 11:53 pm

    Kitchen M - This is beautiful! It's hard to come up with a pretty looking dish in the winter time when there are mostly root vegetables available in the market. Nice job, Brian!ReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2011 - 12:16 am

    naomi - Beautiful salad and love the addition of feta to it-nice flavor combo!ReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2011 - 3:47 am

    andra@FrenchPressMemos - Nice winter salad- easy and a perfect balance of sweet and salty. We love love love beets and this seems like a great variation. Nice combo :)ReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2011 - 4:52 am

    Monet - Oh my goodness…I just loved seeing this post. What a great salad and what a great picture of Eric. You two just exude goodness. I am starting to like beets more and more, and it is thanks to recipes like this. Thank you for sharing with me, my sweet friend. I hope you are staying safe and warm. It is even too cold in my part of the country…and I'm in Texas!ReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2011 - 2:01 pm

    Christina of Form V Artisan - LOVE beets!! xoxReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2011 - 10:43 pm

    Joanne - I definitely find it hard to find vegetarian meals that aren't pasta-based and that still fill me up. I'm not usually a big beet fan..but with all of these salty flavors I'd be pretty damn content. That first photo is just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2011 - 6:59 am

    Ang - I could eat beets raw, that's how much I love them. What a simple yet delightful beet salad.ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2011 - 11:35 am

    Jeanne @ CookSister! - Love that the beets are so stripey – and beets & feta is always a great combination.ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    Sanjeeta kk - Oh.. I am a beet fan and this calls for a try soon!ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2011 - 3:14 pm

    Neo-Homesteading - Sounds incredible! I think I'm drooling a little.ReplyCancel

  • February 4, 2011 - 7:30 pm

    Eliana - I'm not particularly a fan of beets but leave it to Brian to make them look extra delicious.ReplyCancel

  • February 7, 2011 - 1:01 am

    Bizzy - I think, I don't like beets until I eat them. Then, I really like them. This dish might be one of those that is a positive for beets. It sure looks it.ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    Spotlight: A Thought for Food | Public Radio Kitchen | Blogs | WBUR - […] some of Brian’s most recent winter posts featuring summer recipes–e.g., coleslaw, pickled beet salad and lobster rolls. Slaw? Lobster rolls? In February?! Despite the cold weather (well, because of […]ReplyCancel

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