Beets and goat cheese are a salad combination that can only be enhanced by savory-sweet crunchy walnut granola!
Yes, salad granola. A refreshing change from croutons! Although it’s hard to stab on its own with a fork, I love granola for the crunchy texture it brings to salads–and the more even dispersion than you get with croutons.
Thanks to California Walnuts and Food52 for providing inspiration for this salad! This salad is my contribution to a virtual salad party in conjunction with California Walnuts. As I hopefully conveyed in this post, this salad is so great that you can even cobble it together on vacation with a lot of ingredients missing and it will still taste fabulous. I can only imagine how amazing it would taste as written!
Though one of my favorite salads, I often feel that beet and goat cheese salads have been beaten to death. A savory granola seemed like a brilliant move to perk it up–and honestly, savory granola on salad is my favorite food discovery of the year so far.
It might seem time-consuming to make a batch of granola on top of roasting beets, massaging kale, making dressing, etc. etc. but it is SO WORTH IT. Each salty, golden cluster of granola positively burst with flavor–it’s SO umami. Plus, as a texture medium, granola disperses crunch far more evenly than croutons. I loved the earthy notes of the caraway seeds in the granola so make sure you don’t leave them out!
Each of the components (beets, granola, dressing) can keep for many days in advance, so I would recommend doing all the roasting/baking on one day. If you’re not serving a large crowd all at once, I would toss each serving of salad separately to keep the granola from getting soggy. (The recipe below makes an ENORMOUS salad with a pretty large batch of granola that will last for several salads.)
Baby beet salad with chevre and walnut granola
For the granola
- 1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup walnut halves roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/4 cup soft white cheddar cheese with caramelized onion or any soft cheese
- 2 tablespoons mashed pear
For the beets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 pound beets peeled and cut into sixths
- salt + pepper
For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 medium shallot minced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt + pepper
- 2 heads lacinto kale rinsed and chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese chevre, crumbled
Make the granola
- Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Combine oats, walnuts, caraway seeds, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
- Combine the oil and soy sauce in a small bowl. Mash the cheese into the oil mixture using a fork or your fingers until a rough, oily paste forms–you are trying to emulsify the cheese and liquid together here. Stir in the mashed pear. Pour the wet mixture over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown throughout, stirring every 10 minutes, about 25 to 30 minutes total (the granola will continue to crisp as it cools). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the granola cool completely. (Granola can be made up to 5 days in advance; store in an airtight container at room temperature.)
Roast the beets
- Heat the oven to 400°F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Spread the beets on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper. Roast the beets for 20 minutes then remove from oven and flip onto other side. Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re knife tender and golden brown. (Beets can be roasted up to 5 days in advance; store refrigerated in an airtight container.)
Make the vinaigrette
- Place all ingredients in a jar, season with salt and pepper, close, and shake until all ingredients are incorporated and come together as a vinaigrette, about 30 seconds. Just before serving, taste, adjust seasoning as desired. (Vinaigrette can be made up to 5 days in advance; store refrigerated in an airtight container.)
- To serve, massage the kale by scrunching it in your fists until it softens (it should turn a darker shade of green and become aromatic). Divide the kale among serving plates, top with roasted beets, chevre, granola, and drizzle each salad with a few spoonfuls of vinaigrette.
The Wimpy Vegetarian
We go to Portland fairly regularly since our step-daughter, husband and 2 kids live up there. GREAT city. But your salad is to. die. for. OMG. I can’t wait to make a savory granola on a beet salad now. This is pure genius. And I’m so impressed on the quality of your photos while traveling!!!!!
Thanks Susan!! Apparently there’s a savory granola up on Food52 as well, so maybe Aida didn’t invent this savory granola thing like I thought she did. Anyhoo, granola + beets is a fab combination 🙂
The Wimpy Vegetarian
F52 is a great resource for recipes and ideas! And I love the granola with the beets!!
Millie at Add A Little
Love the savoury granola with massaged kale mmm! sounds amazing! (also, love the lik story!)
Following on Pinterest and twitter too!
Thanks Millie 🙂
Millie at Add A Little
Already following on instagram! 🙂
I never thought of using granola in salad before. Looks delicious!
Thanks MaryBeth! 🙂
This is the first time I have seen your blog, and I love it. I’m a Portlander, and I enjoyed seeing Portland through your eyes. The salad sounds fantastic! Thank you.
Oh, thank you so much Julie!! I am so in love with Portland–what a fabulous city! You’re lucky to live there–all the farmer’s markets was definitely one of my favorite parts. Thanks for visiting :))
I love EVERYTHING about this post, Erika! So hilarious (I felt like I was right there in the Whole Foods trenches with you baha) and the result is so absolutely spectacular. Love all the MacGyver-ing that went into producing a salad that sounds beyond delicious (omg, SAVORY. GRANOLA.) I need to try this sometime soon. Hope you had a fantastic vacation, lady!!!
Cynthia, you’re so awesome. Your vocab is the best (MacGyver-ing)!! Thanks SO much lady!! <33
Why have I never thought of savory granola??!!! That is GENIUS Erika! Yay, I’m going to… uh… rush to the shops and (in a suitably undistracted fashion) pick up the ingredients for this tonight!! Massage time awaits (and yes, Aaron thinks it’s a hilarious term too) xx
LOL! Thanks Laura! My sister literally could not stop cracking jokes as she massaged the kale. And my mom kept wandering over and being like “really? This is a thing?” Oh the things we do 🙂
walnuts add such a nice touch to any food
I agree! Thanks for stopping by, Barb! 🙂
Nora (A Clean Bake)
This salad is seriously stunning. I hope it was worth all the work (it seems like it was). Cooking on vacation is the worst, isn’t it? But I am really impressed by how well you ate on the road (you know I food-stalk you on IG). Ok but seriously, this salad has so many of my favorite ingredients and the savory granola is an amazing idea!!
HAHA! Nora, would I eat any other way (other than well, on vacation)? I am nutz about food. To the point where I think maybe I should get some other hobbies that don’t involve sitting on my behind. But anyway, thanks for the lovely thoughts as usual. I hope you get an opportunity to try out savory granola sometime soon because it is GREAT!!
Shikha @ Shikha la mode
I need to see some Portland blogposts and photos so I know what to do when I go on Thursday! I saw this savory granola recipe on Food52 and was blown away. Adding it to my to-do list, especially cus I need to make more salads and eat less sugar hah!
Ooh I hadn’t seen that granola recipe! I’ll have to try that one next :))
Rosie @The Porridge Pot
Savory granola sounds out of this world!
Thanks Rosie! It really is such a brilliant idea!
Natasha @ The Cake Merchant
Whoa, this savory granola just blew my mind, but I really want to try it! I firmly believe that a good salad is worth the effort, but you are so dedicated to have put this together on vacation. Looks like you had a great, food filled trip, though.
Even though I was only in Portland for 5 seconds, I totally see why people want to move there. I stopped at a Whole Foods for dinner and had vegan banh mi and a mini raw vegan pie! Where else could that happen? Thanks for the ice cream recommendation, by the way!
Hah, thanks Natasha! It was fun to throw together (and to see my baby brother finally eat some kale!) and definitely worth the effort, imo 🙂
YES right??? I was there for 5 days and was ready to move. OMGOSH their Whole Foods is so amazing!! I remember feeling the same way when I visited the Whole Foods in Austin and I got a tofu peanut butter parfait (OMG). But Portland is somehow even cooler!! And I’m SO glad you made it to Salt & Straw!!!
janet @ the taste space
Woah, girl, you go all out on vacation!! I have a quasi-kitchen right now but no camera.. even if I did have the time to blog. 😉
Love the pouring granola picture!
Haha yeah it was a pretty relaxed vacation with lots of cooking anyway, and I juuust happened to bring my camera on the off chance this would happen 😉 Hope you are having TONS of fun on your travels!!!!!!!!!!!!
Millie l Add A Little
Love beets and this looks like such a perfect salad as the chevre compliments it so well! I also love the granola you’ve got going on on top Erika!
Thanks Millie! It was a great combination 🙂
I’m following you on Twitter and Pinterest and liked you on Facebook!
nice kale salad! i like eating walnuts plain, they are much softer than other nuts. this was a good way to incorporate them into a dish. they are so good for you!
Agreed! They’re so buttery and delicious aren’t they? Sometimes I toast them in a pan with a little olive oil and salt and oh man I could just eat them for days. Thanks for the comment Dina! 🙂
Katie (The Muffin Myth)
That’s what I call commitment! And the salad looks amazing. I love the idea of savoury granola, something I’ll definitely have to experiment with in my kitchen. We eat a lot of salads for dinners, and often toss in nuts or something else for crunch, so the granola seems so logical! I’m pretty sure I’m out of range for your giveaway, but if not, count me in! And I follow you on all media, so count me in for 5 entries 😉
Yes!!! I feel like you would love savory granola, especially since you are such a salad person! And I’m not sure if you’re quite out of range for the giveaway, but I will do my best to get this to you if you win!! 🙂
The Vegan 8
Wow, that was a lot you went through for that salad, haha! I am always so mad when I get home and realize one of my purchases never made it through, argghhh! Anyways, the salad looks divine!! I love kale and the sound of that vinaigrette sounds so delicious, but I especially am dying over savory granola!! I have NEVER heard of that or had it and now I am so intrigued!! By the way, I have a new email marketing system that goes out to my subscribers, so you probably aren’t getting my emails anymore (bloggers didn’t get transferred over with the move) and if you are still interested in them, pretty please resubscribe to my blog, it’s a big red box now on my home page. 🙂 🙂
Haha yes–I didn’t mean to sound like I was complaining! It was more like a fun scavenger hunt 🙂 (except for the part with the missing cheese, boo!)
And thanks for letting me know about the marketing system! No wonder I’ve been missing your blog lately! I’ve been traveling a bunch and am really behind on reading blogs, but so happy to be able to catch up on yours now! 🙂
I’ve never thought to put granola on a salad! Love that idea!!
And I follow you on pinterest
Awesome! Thanks Nikki! 🙂
Thank heavens for whole foods and some ingenuity … I snorted at the red wine vinegar in the salad container. Genius!
Lol thank heavens for Whole Foods indeed! I felt a bit hobo-ish while I was scrounging around for ingredients, but it was kind of fun…
Such a cute post! Thanks for making my salad and for doing a giveaway of my book!
Thanks so much Aida! I was so excited to finally try one of your recipes and of course, it turned out fabulously. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes and I’m thrilled to be able to give away a copy of your beautiful book!!
I am amazed by your “hunt,” and that you did your post on vacation!!!!! Seriously Erika, I am loving this 🙂
I have NEVER eaten heathy on vacation, but you do inspired me 🙂
Glad to hear you have had a wonderful vacation.
Haha Pang you are always so wonderful!! Believe me, I had more than my fair share of doughnuts/sweets/fried food on this trip, so a salad was kind of necessary! 🙂
Christy @ Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Beautiful. Kudos to you for conjouring up a gorgeous salad while on vacation and deadline. Can’t wait for our Whole Foods to open in September. Love discovering all the new ways to use walnuts through #VirtualSaladParty .
Thanks so much Christy!! <3 Oh, that's so exciting that a Whole Foods is opening near you! And yes, this virtual salad party is so awesome!!
Nancy @ gottagetbaked
Lol, yikes, what an ordeal! You’re a true trooper for going through with making this salad while on vacay and for hunting all the ingredients down (yes, my eyes would bug out of my head looking at some of the prices too!). This salad is lovely and I’m in LOVE with the idea of savoury granola. It now counts as one of my favourite food discoveries for 2014 too! Your photos are fabulous – I love all the action shots. We’re on the same wavelength girl – I’ve been experimenting with my photos too and just took a few this weekend where my hands/arms are sharing the spotlight with the food. The lighting is gorgeous. If I’m eligible for the cookbook, I’d love to throw my hat into the ring. I’m pretty sure I already follow you on all your social media outlets (cause I’m stalker-y like that).
Haha oh Nancy–you’re a true trooper for making it all the way through the post! I’m pretty sure you are 1 of maybe 3 people who will read at least 60% of this post…and I love you for it! Oh man you MUST TRY granola on salad soon!!! It’s so good. And I can’t wait to see your fabulous photos!!
Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet
I’m a fan of Aida’s work and would love to win this – have been looking for a new summer cookbook.
Yay!! I have a feeling it’d be the perfect summer cookbook 🙂 I hope you get to read it soon (whether through this giveaway or otherwise)!!
Michelle @ Hummingbird High
Such pretty photos! So good to see you in Portland!
Yes yes!!! I’m sure I pulled you out of a hectic work day but thanks so much for taking the time to come meet me!! I LOVED Nuvrei…still dreaming about that chocolate almond croissant. OMG.
Such a great post! Were you in PDX? That is where I live! Gotta love the perks of wholefoods! Love your lighting on your photos!
Yes!!! That was SO funny reading about your dilemma about whether to go to the Portland Whole Foods because that is literally where I shopped for my ingredients!!! I was only there for five days on vacation, but it was SO wonderful. Such a wonderfully quirky city–so jealous that you live there!! The food was so fantastic! And thanks! 🙂
Kim @ AdventuresInANewishCity
Erika, THIS is what heaven looks like. Glad to hear your time in Portland is going well! 🙂
Bahaha thanks Kim. Oh you and your clean eating ways…I saw what another heaven looks like in Portland and it’s big and fluffy and deep-fried with a purple bourbon-blueberry-basil glaze. YEAH. Yikes my arteries. (PS. if your future travels take you to Portland, go to Blue Star Doughnuts and tell me what you think! I don’t think it quite stands up to Gourdough’s, but still quite good.)