This Greek Beet Salad with yogurt and lemon vinaigrette is light, earthy, and creamy. It's the perfect winter salad to serve as a side or as an addition to bowls or salads.
Why This Recipe Works
Simple yet flavorful - You only need a few simple ingredients for this salad and they should all be easy to find. Beets are very earthy and lemon juice gives them a bright, fresh flavor and really makes them shine while Greek yogurt makes the salad creamy and gives it a slight tang.
It's beautiful - You can serve the salad with dollops of Greek yogurt or mix it in with everything else which I highly recommend. Tossing the beets together with yogurt creates a beautiful bright pink creamy sauce that always makes this salad the star of any dinner spread! You can serve it with dollops of yogurt and toss it all together right on the table so everyone can watch the salad transform!
It can be made ahead - Because there is no lettuce in this salad, it's easy to make ahead without worrying about anything wilting down. You can steam the beets the night before, mix them with the vinaigrette, and just add the yogurt right before serving.
Easy to make vegan - Greek yogurt is a large part of this recipe but you can easily modify it to your liking or dietary needs. I often use soft goat cheese instead of yogurt or a vegan alternative.
- Beets - Choose beets that are firm and dark in color. If you're buying beets with the beet greens attached, save the greens for later. You can cook them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon and serve them as a side. They can be used wherever you would use kale or chard.
- Greek yogurt - You can use any yogurt you like here. I usually go with classic thick Greek yogurt. You can use a lower-fat yogurt, sheep or goat yogurt, or (my personal favorite) soft goat cheese. All will give the salad slightly different flavors and consistency. If you're using very thick yogurt, I recommend mixing it with a splash of water to thin it out slightly so it creates nicer dollops but it's not necessary.
- Fresh herbs - A combination of parsley and dill works best here but you can use either or. Chives or mint leaves would also be a great addition. Try using fresh herbs if possible. They brighten up the salad more than dried herbs would.
- Lemon vinaigrette - The dressing is made with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic, sea salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Use fresh lemon juice whenever possible. If you don't have any lemons, red wine vinegar is also a great option.
Variations and Substitutions
Make it vegan - If you need to make this dish dairy-free, you can use vegan yogurt instead of Greek yogurt. Keep in mind the flavor of the yogurt will impact the flavor of the salad quite a lot so choose the one you really like! I recommend thicker creamy yogurts. You can also leave it out and just add the vinaigrette, it will still be delicious!
Dried herbs - If you don't have fresh herbs, you can use dried ones. They won't add as much flavor as fresh would but they work when needed. Keep in mind you should always add a smaller amount of dried herbs than you would fresh ones. I recommend 1 teaspoon of each dill and parsley.
Cooking method: Start by cooking your beets. You can do this in a few different ways. I like peeling them raw and then steaming them. You can also boil them but I find they absorb some of the water that way so I prefer to steam them. You can also roast them whole wrapped in aluminum foil and peel them after cooking when the beets are softer.
Peeling beets: Whatever cooking method you choose, I highly recommend wearing disposable gloves while you're peeling the beets to avoid staining your hands. They have a very strong red color that stains most things it comes to contact with.
Chopping: You can chop the beets into small or large pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will cook. I usually cut them into wedges and keep the pieces fairly large.
Steaming: To steam the beets. Add them to a steamer or a large pot with 1 inch of water and a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and steam for 25-35 minutes. You want them to be soft but not mushy. The cooking time will depend on how big or small you chopped the beets.
While the beets are cooking, make the vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, combine extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic, finely chopped parsley and dill, sea salt, and pepper.
Once the beets are tender and done cooking, transfer them to a large bowl. Drizzle them with the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat well. You can do this while the beets are still hot. The steam will cook the garlic slightly so it won't be as pungent.
You can serve the beet salad in two ways:
- In a bowl mixed with both the vinaigrette and yogurt for a bright pink creamy salad.
- On a serving platter garnished with dollops of yogurt, more fresh herbs, and black pepper.
I personally recommend the second option because it makes for a fancier presentation. Everyone can take a bit of the yogurt and mix it all together on their plate or you can toss it all together on the table right before everyone digs in.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. The salad won't keep for very long because of the yogurt. If you know you will need to store the salad for longer, mix the beets together with only the vinaigrette and add the yogurt right before serving. This way, the salad will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Grains like quinoa, bulgur, and couscous go really well with this salad. It also goes great with any kind of fish or chicken. You can serve it with other sides or salads like these Mediterranean Potatoes, these Vegan Loaded Greek Fries, or this Greek Potato Salad with Feta.
You can steam the beets and mix them with the vinaigrette the night before and just add Greek yogurt right before serving. The salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or 4 days without the yogurt. The longer the beets sit in the vinaigrette the more flavor they will develop so they'll be even better the next day!
More Beet Recipes
I think beets are a very underappreciated vegetable that can be really delicious if you prepare them right. There are tons of uses for them and I'll always be adding more to this list. To see all sides, head over to the Sides Category.
This Greek Beet Salad is light, earthy, and creamy. It's the perfect winter salad to serve as a side or as an addition to bowls or salads.
- 2 lbs beets (5-7 beets)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup Greek yogurt (or a vegan alternative)
- Peel the beets and cut them into wedges or dice.
- Add 1 inch of water to a large cooking pot with a steam basket and add the chopped beets.
- Steam the beets for 25-35 minutes or until soft. The time will vary depending on the size of the beets.
- While the beets are steaming, make the dressing. In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, dill, sea salt, and pepper. Whisk well to combine.
- Once the beets are done, transfer them to a large bowl and pour the dressing over them. Toss gently to combine.
- Serve the beet salad on a large serving platter with dollops of Greek yogurt and more parsley and dill if desired. You can mix the yogurt in or leave it in dollops on top.
Greek yogurt alternative: To keep the dish dairy-free, you can use a vegan yogurt alternative. Soft goat cheese is also a great option.
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Keywords: beet salad, greek yogurt