Beet, Orange, Olive and Walnut Salad

February  9, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This recipe was given to my by my Aunt Suzy several years ago in a collection of recipes using preserved lemons. For my husband and my wedding present, she gave us "dinner in a box for a year," and 4 times that year she gave us a box full of menus, ingredients, recipes and accompanying wine for us to cook up gourmet meals together. One of the boxes was full of preserved lemon recipes, and a few menus for Mediterranean meals using them. This recipe was included, and I've made it several times since then!

I added the olives to the recipe, and I think it is a must have. I love the olive, beet and orange combo...those flavors are wonderful together. I've made it without the walnuts before (just because I burnt them accidentally and didn't have time to make more), and it was still great. The preserved lemons are optional, but I think add such a great kick to it. The problem is that purchased preserved lemons are never as good as homemade, and it's not really an ingredient that most cooks have on hand. But I included the recipe for them, and I highly recommend making them...they keep for a year, and there are so many wonderful things you can put them in!

My aunt said that she got this recipe originally from the cookbook "From Tapas to Meze: First Courses from the Mediterranean Shores of Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa" by Joanne Weir.

The original recipe says that it serves 6, but my husband and I can eat the whole thing as a main course, sharing with our toddler son. So I'm going to say that it serves 4 (we eat a lot of salad), but if you're going to serve it as a side dish or tapas style, stick with the "serves 6" estimate. - margauxbakes —margauxbakes

Test Kitchen Notes

This salad made us very happy. The prospect of preparing something so colorful and fresh—the jewel-like beets and orange sections, coupled with briny olives and roasted walnuts—in the dead of a frigid and dreary winter was exciting. After roasting the beets, I immediately made the dressing so the beets could soak in the citrusy flavors. The walnut oil added a subtle flavor to both the roasted walnuts and the dressing. Next time I will use my favorite Castelvetrano olives, because I love them and think they would look beautiful among the beets and oranges. This is a great wow salad for company, but equally nice as a one-stop dish for getting in your regime of fruits and vegetables. Note: I did not make the preserved Meyer lemons, but will try them next time. This recipe is also nice because you can prepare the parts and assemble the whole salad at the last minute. —Bevi

What You'll Need
  • Beet, Orange, Olive and Walnut Salad
  • 1 pound beets
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 5 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Preserved Lemons
  • 6 meyer lemons
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cardamon pods
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, more if needed
  1. Beet, Orange, Olive and Walnut Salad
  2. THE BEETS: Wash beets and pat dry, then halve them. Place in a baking dish and lightly coat with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake 45-60 minutes in a 375-degree oven until done. Cool. Slip off the skins, cut into wedges and then set aside.
  3. THE WALNUTS: Toss walnuts, 1 tbsp walnut oil, pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Place on a baking sheet, and toast in the 375-degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Keep a very close eye on them after 5 minutes, as they burn quickly! Cool. Coarsely chop and set aside.
  4. THE DRESSING: Whisk together: the orange juice, 1 tbsp walnut oil, 2 tbsp olive oil, the red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. FINAL ASSEMBLY: Prepare the oranges by cutting off the top and bottom. Cut off the skins with a knife so that no white pith remains. The cut into small sections. Wash the lettuce and either tear or cut into pieces. Dry. Toss the lettuce with half the dressing and place on a platter. Toss the beets with the remainder of the dressing and place on top of the lettuce. Garnish with the orange sections, olives, preserved lemon and walnuts.
  1. Preserved Lemons
  2. This recipe is enough for a one-quart mason jar; adjust amounts accordingly for larger or smaller glass containers. A wide-mouth jar is recommended, making it easier to remove the lemons for use later. Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh, then reshape the fruit. Place 1 tablespoon salt on the bottom of the jar. Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt and the herbs/spices between layers. Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice to cover the lemons. You might find recipes that call for covering lemons with water, but we think using juice creates a better product. Leave a little air space before putting the lid on the jar. Place the jar in the refrigerator and shake the jar daily to distribute the salt. The lemons are ready to use after 4-6 weeks. Most recipes use only the peel. To use, remove the desired amount from the jar and discard the pulp unless the recipe instructs otherwise. Rinse the peel under running water. Preserved lemons will keep up to a year in the refrigerator. The pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year. Remove bay leaves and coriander seeds after about 2 months, as they will make the lemons start to taste bitter over time. NOTE: I have also seen red peppercorns or a slice of red bell pepper put into the jar to add some color.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • erskinechef
  • Dabblings

3 Reviews

erskinechef April 30, 2013
Just to clarify, are two tablespoons of walnut oil required or just one?
erskinechef April 30, 2013
Sorry, now I see why two tablespoons are required.
Dabblings July 8, 2011
I made this tonight for dinner. Everyone loved it including my husband who doesn't like Kalamata olives or beets and my oldest daughter that doesn't like beets. Thanks for sharing. I'll be adding this to my binder of recipes.