Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Candied Walnuts

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Candied Walnuts
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About This Recipe

As a Napa Valley local and passionate home chef, I'm always on the hunt for dishes that showcase our region's vibrant flavors and rich culinary heritage. That's how I came up with this Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Candied Walnuts. With its earthy beets, tangy goat cheese, peppery arugula, and sweet candied walnuts, this salad is a celebration of Napa Valley's farm-to-table ethos and the region's love affair with fresh, local ingredients.

To create this delightful dish, I drew inspiration from the seasonal produce at the local farmer's markets, which offer a bounty of fruits, vegetables, and artisanal cheeses. The beets and arugula are sourced from local farms, while the goat cheese comes from a small creamery nestled in the rolling hills of Napa. The candied walnuts, a nod to the valley's thriving walnut industry, add an elegant touch that complements the salad's other flavors perfectly.

This salad is versatile and can be served as a light lunch, a delicious starter, or a side dish to a main course. For a truly Napa-inspired dining experience, consider pairing it with a seared salmon fillet or a grilled chicken breast, both of which would highlight the salad's vibrant flavors. To round out your meal, uncork a bottle of crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a fruity Pinot Noir from one of our many outstanding local wineries, such as Stag's Leap Wine Cellars or Domaine Carneros.

For dessert, why not indulge in a slice of lemon olive oil cake from one of Napa's charming bakeries or a scoop of homemade lavender honey ice cream from a local creamery? Both would provide a fitting end to your Napa Valley-inspired meal.

When it comes to sourcing ingredients for this salad, Napa's farmer's markets are an excellent place to start. You'll find the freshest beets, arugula, and walnuts there, as well as other seasonal produce to inspire your culinary adventures. If you can't make it to a market, many local businesses, such as Oxbow Public Market or Sunshine Foods, carry an impressive array of regional products.

If you ever find yourself in Napa Valley, be sure to explore the region's culinary scene beyond the world-famous wineries. Visit local farms, creameries, and bakeries for a true taste of Napa, and don't forget to sample the diverse array of restaurants, from Michelin-starred establishments to cozy neighborhood eateries.

I hope this Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Candied Walnuts becomes a cherished addition to your recipe collection, and a reminder of the rich flavors and culinary heritage of Napa Valley. Happy cooking, and cheers to your Napa Valley-inspired culinary adventures!

Spotlight on Beets: The Hero Ingredient

The humble beetroot, often known as just 'beet,' holds the spotlight in this exquisite salad. Recognized for its vibrant deep-purple hue, the beetroot is more than just a colorful addition. It's a nutritional powerhouse, brimming with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can enhance cardiovascular health and support liver detoxification. Originating from the Mediterranean region, beets have long been used in cuisines worldwide, lending their unique earthy taste and succulent texture to an array of dishes. In our Napa-inspired Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, the beetroot takes center stage, harmoniously blending with other ingredients, making every bite a flavorful journey.

How to Perfectly Roast Beets for Your Salad

Roasting beets is a straightforward process, but it can be a bit messy due to their vibrant color. Here's a step-by-step guide to get perfectly roasted beets:

  1. Preheat: Start by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Prep the Beets: Clean the beets thoroughly and trim off any greens. Leave the skins on, they'll be easier to peel after roasting.
  3. Wrap in Foil: Individually wrap each beet in aluminum foil.
  4. Bake: Place the wrapped beets on a baking tray and roast for about 40-60 minutes, or until tender. The exact time will depend on the size of your beets.
  5. Cool and Peel: Once done, remove from the oven and let them cool. When they're manageable to handle, use a paper towel to rub off the skin. It should come off easily!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use a different type of cheese in this salad? Absolutely! While goat cheese offers a tangy contrast to the earthy beets, feta or blue cheese could also make delicious alternatives.
  2. How can I store leftover beet and goat cheese salad? Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. However, it's best enjoyed fresh, as the arugula can wilt over time.
  3. Are there any alternatives to candied walnuts? Certainly! Candied pecans or almonds can be great alternatives. If you're looking for a low-sugar option, simply roast the nuts for added crunch.
  4. Is there a quick way to candy walnuts? Yes, you can candy walnuts on the stovetop. Melt some sugar in a skillet until golden, toss in the walnuts, ensuring they're coated with the melted sugar. Transfer to a parchment-lined tray and let them cool.
  5. I have a nut allergy. Can I omit the walnuts? Definitely! While the candied walnuts add a crunch and sweetness to the salad, you can substitute with roasted seeds like sunflower or pumpkin for a similar texture without the nuts.

Tips for Success

  1. Dress Just Before Serving: To keep the arugula crisp and vibrant, toss the salad with the balsamic vinaigrette just before you're ready to serve.
  2. Customize to Your Taste: This recipe offers flexibility. Feel free to adjust the proportions of ingredients based on your preference. For instance, if you're a cheese enthusiast, add an extra sprinkle of goat cheese!
  3. Pair with the Right Wine: Enhance the flavors of the salad with a well-chosen wine. A glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a fruity Pinot Noir works wonders in elevating the dining experience.

Recipe Overview

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula and Candied Walnuts
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 medium beets, roasted and peeled
  • 4 cups arugula, washed and dried
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup walnuts, candied
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Cut the roasted beets into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  2. In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, beet slices, goat cheese, and candied walnuts.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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