Delicious and detoxifying roasted beet salad with basil tossed in a homemade black pepper strawberry vinaigrette that you’ll want to make again and again! It’s the perfect appetizer for summer parties or healthy make-ahead lunches. Vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free!
Today, I want to tell you the origin story of one of my favorite detox salads. One of my best friends just moved to London, and before she left, we grabbed a final dinner at ABC Cocina, which quickly became one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan. As part of trying not to think about how much I was going to miss her, I stuffed my face, and the roasted beet salad, which I ordered almost as an afterthought (seriously – the waitress was already walking away), was simply a revelation. The beets were tossed with micro basil, which I’ve never before paired with beets, but hoo-boy, is it a perfect counterpoint (almost perfect enough to distract from my best friend leaving me. Did I mention my sadness about this yet??). So, I knew I had to recreate this recipe at home so I could enjoy it again and again.
If you’ve never had a detox salad before, this roasted beet salad is the perfect one to start with! It’s so easy to make.
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t eat beets because they’re too earthy or grassy, I behoove you to try them roasted– it changes everything. The sugars caramelize and the inside becomes almost buttery. They’re sweet and vegetal and incredibly delicious, especially when brought to life by a homemade strawberry vinaigrette and balanced by the fresh, bright basil. Beets are also incredibly good for you. Let’s talk about their health benefits for a second, shall we?
What makes beets healthy?
Generally speaking, the stronger the pigment of a fruit or vegetable is, the more health benefits it has. You can tell by beets’ propensity to stain everything in site that they’re rich in something – in this case, phytonutrients called betalains. These are rich in antioxidants, proven to have anti-inflammatory benefits, and boost immunity. They’ve been shown in studies to lessen the growth of tumors and proven to support your body’s own detoxification processes, specifically helping bind with toxins in your cells so you can pee them out (kind of awesome, huh?).
Because I’m not a fancy restaurant owner and because I get my groceries from a combination of a tiny farmer’s market and an even tinier bodega, I didn’t use micro basil (although if you are fancy and you can find it, by all means pull up your golden chair and use it!). You can simply rough-chop normal basil, or, if you worship at the alter of aesthetics like me, you can hunt through for the tiniest of basil leaves and use those.
How to make a strawberry detox salad dressing
You can use this strawberry black pepper vinaigrette on basically anything – after you make it once, you’ll be HOOKED. I used frozen strawberries because every. single. time. I buy strawberries, they go moldy before I can use them. If you have non-moldy fresh strawberries, use them instead. If you don’t, frozen works just as well, and makes this recipe the type you can enjoy long into winter. You basically cook the strawberries in a small saucepan until they release their juices, and then you blend them up with heart-healthy olive oil, gut-healing apple cider vinegar, and a ton of black pepper.
What you’ll need to make this basil and roasted beet salad
- Beets: the base of this detox salad is, of course, beets. See below for my best tips on how to roast beets!
- Basil: adds fresh, aromatic flavor to balance out the sugary roasted beets
- Fresh dill: brings some herbiness to every bite
- Strawberries: adds farm-fresh summery flavors
- Honey: give the detox salad dressing the perfect amount of natural sweetness.
- Apple cider vinegar: tangy apple cider vinegar brings balance to the flavors.
- Olive oil: adds creaminess and heart-healthy fats.
- Fine grain sea salt and fresh ground black pepper: make the flavors pop!
How to roast beets in 3 easy steps
Roasting beets is so easy, and makes using beets in healthy weeknight dinners so much more enjoyable! Here’s all you do to make them perfect each time:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and either peel the beets or simply scrub them well and trim the ends off.
- Wrap each beet in parchment paper, then inside aluminum foil. I double wrap because I prefer foil not to touch my food because it can leach into your food and have health affects. You can also just wrap the beets in foil if you’re not concerned about that!
- Place them on a baking sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes, until a fork easily slides into the beet. Unwrap each beet and let them cool completely before chopping.
Make this roasted beet salad your own
This basil and beet salad is super easy to customize with whatever ingredients you have on hand and for whatever occasion! Here are a few, simple suggestions:
- Add goat cheese: serving this salad as a healthy BBQ side dish? People love a goat cheese roasted beet salad.
- Add some crunch: I think chopped roasted pistachios or pecans would be delicious in this salad recipe!
- Give it a protein boost: feel free to add shredded rotisserie chicken or sliced grilled chicken here to make this beet salad more filling.
Make beet salad ahead of time
Whether you want to meal prep this roasted beet salad or make your party prep easier, this recipe holds up in the fridge! I recommend making the dressing and storing it separate in a lidded mason jar or air tight container. Then, storing the chopped roasted beets, basil, and dill together in a different sealed container. When ready to serve, mix everything together!
More basil summer recipes to tryPrint
Roasted Beet Salad
- 4 – 5 medium beets
- Large handful of fresh basil leaves, rough chopped if they’re large and left as is if small
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, stems removed and rough chopped
Black Pepper Strawberry Vinaigrette
- 8 oz frozen strawberries (can sub 1 cup of hulled fresh strawberries, in which case you can skip the heating step and just blend)
- 1 tablespoon honey (can sub maple syrup, coconut syrup or agave if vegan)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Roasted Beet Salad
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. You can either peel the beets or simply scrub them well, then trim the ends off and wrap them. I wrap them in parchment paper inside foil (see the image earlier in the post), because I prefer foil not to touch my food, but you can just use foil as well. Place them on a baking sheet and roast for 30 – 45 minutes, or until a fork easily slides in. Unwrap and let cool completely, then chop into small chunks. Toss with vinaigrette and dill and basil, then serve.
Black Pepper Strawberry Vinaigrette
- Add strawberries to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and mashing with a wooden spoon until the juices release (see image in the post). Let cool until warm to touch, then blend with all remaining ingredients until very smooth (if using fresh strawberries, skip the first step and simply blend all ingredients until very smooth).
- Salad & vinaigrette keep for 4 – 5 days in the fridge; see notes for best serving strategy.
The beet salad can be made ahead of time; simply dress it and add the dill, but wait until just before serving to add fresh basil leaves.