beet & pea salad with lemon goat cheese dressing

Beets, because of their earthy sweetness & strong flavor, pair exceptionally well with big flavors like goat cheese & sweet pickled onion in this recipe. I’m a fan of pickled beets, the kind you buy in a jar or a can from the store. I love them on a sandwich with sliced onion, tomato & cucumbers. My nan used to make her own, they were delicious because she didn’t skimp on the vinegar. Beets & vinegar are friends, remember that if ever you’re pickling your own. Roasted, beets develop their sweetness making them perfect for a robust salad. This salad pairs beautifully with grilled salmon. Salmon & beets – also friends. 

beet salad

If you have peas growing in your garden firstly…lucky you. Secondly, this is a great salad for them. Most of us tend to serve peas hot but they’re delicious cold too. If, like me & you’re not in a pea-growing conducive climate then use frozen peas…thawed of course. Easy-peasy! Sorry…

beetroot salad

In Australia we call this jewel-like root veggie “beetroot”. Which is strange because generally Aussies like to shorten everything. We also like to put beets on our burgers & sambos (sandwiches). Most Americans I tell this to think it’s strange but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I don’t criticize your food culture combos, please refrain from doing the same to mine…got it? Good! And while we’re at it, could you also please not correct me when I say things like “bAsil”, “tomaaarto” “raaarspberry” or, god forbid, “H-erbs”. Last I checked there was an ‘h’ in HERBS. I use it, it’s your decision not to. Have some respect for people & their accents. Unless I’m either married to you or you’re my good friend then you can tease me. Otherwise you’re just being obnoxious & annoying. 

beet salad overhead

That’s my rant for the day. Now…where were we…beetroot…sorry I mean beets. Yes, very potent. If you’re not used to eating beets don’t be shocked if later that day or the next morning when you hit the loo, everything is crimson. As I said beets are a powerful antioxidant. They can give your system a good clean-out. I used to juice them. The taste was akin to drinking sweet mud. Not that I’ve drunk mud but I image it would taste like beet juice if I did. Beets are also great for aches & pains. I need start adding them back to my daily juice. They really are exceptionally good for you. And they look incredibly pretty when they’re cooked so don’t be shy of them. Give them some loving & they’ll love you back. Just like respect…

low salad dressing

 The red onion slices have a little vinegar, honey & garlic bath before being added to the salad. This sweetens the onion & makes the slices crunchy. I thought the onion would be good on its own with some sharp cheddar. Even people who are little averse to the stronger taste of onions might be suitably impressed by how much the taste & texture changes when it marinates in some vinegar. 

salad dressing

 The salad dressing is really the star of the whole dish. And that is a bold statement coming from someone who isn’t a big goat cheese fan. Goat cheese & beets together work. This salad dressing is one of the nicest if not THE nicest dressing I’ve made. Lemon zest, lemon juice, white balsamic, dill, basil, goat cheese & a whisper of garlic all come together to create a symphony. Ok, that sounds a tad silly but you get my drift. It’s spectacular. Truly. Make it. Even if you don’t like beets & never make the salad…make the dressing. Pop it in the fridge for an hour after you do to let it chill a little, then serve it with crudités. Fab-u-lous! 

the pour

July has been an emotionally & physically hard month & there’s still more to go *sigh. Until yesterday I’d had a headache all month – all month. And most of June. Aaand May. And before that I woke up with them on a regular basis. It has been horrible. Hor-ri-ble. Trying to function with your head pounding so often gets to a person & it made me exhausted & cranky. I knew it wasn’t from my change in diet (especially as that’s more recent), it was coming from my neck. I thought maybe it was arthritis from looking down all the time cooking, styling & on a computer. My darling hubby, smart man that he is, suggests maybe it’s the pillows I use, that perhaps they weren’t suited to our bed. Wait…what. Matching the softness of a pillow to a bed. Now why didn’t I think of that. I’d tried different pillows. None of them helped. It was getting depressing. Especially when he suggested it was our bed. NO! I LOVE our bed. So even though I’d spent hundreds of dollars on pillows it was time to try a different kind. Last weekend, armed with this assumption, we went pillow shopping. Twas a Goldilocks’ moment because the first one wasn’t right but the second one was juuuust right. Next morning NO HEADACHE. This is day two, fingers crossed it continues. 

beet salad up close

beet & pea salad with lemon goat cheese dressing
Serves 8
Write a review
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
  1. 3 lb (1.3kg) beets, washed & trimmed of stems & leaves
  2. 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  3. 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  4. 2 tablespoons honey
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 garlic clove, minced
  7. 1 cup shelled peas (fresh* or frozen, thawed)
  8. salt & freshly ground pepper
  9. dill sprigs
  10. small basil leaves
  12. 1/3 cup olive oil
  13. 1/3 cup packed basil leaves
  14. 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  15. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  16. 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  17. 2 tablespoons honey
  18. 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill
  19. 1 garlic clove, peeled
  20. 4 oz (113g) soft & creamy goat cheese, room temperature
  21. pinch of salt & freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Wrap beets in foil; place on a baking sheet. Roast for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, depending on the size of the beets, until beets are tender. To check, insert a skewer into beets. Remove smaller beets if larger ones aren’t cooked yet. Remove foil & let beets cool. Peeled away skin, I usually wear rubber gloves for this part although beet juice doesn’t stain your skin for long. Cut beets into quarters or eighths for larger beets; cool completely.
  2. While beets are cooking, combine onion slices, vinegar, honey, salt & garlic in a small bowl. Cover & chill until ready to use.
  3. Arrange beets on a serving platter. Scatter peas over the top. Arrange pickled onion slices over the top. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, dill & basil leaves.
  4. To make the dressing: Place all ingredients in a medium bowl with high sides. Use a hand blender to blend until smooth. Or blend in uptight blender until smooth, scraping down sides occasionally. Drizzle dressing over salad.
  1. * If using fresh peas, shell the peas & blanch in boiling salted water for a minute or two. Refresh under cold water.
The Fresh Aussie





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  1. Scott Anderson says:

    Very beautiful. Loving your work and recipes. Keep sending them.

  2. That’s high praise coming from the wizard of food photography. Thanks Scott!
    What I wouldn’t have given to work with you & Cory last week. Sixteen package shots in two days…*ugh. I could never have booked that sort of schedule. Cheers!

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