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Easy, fresh, 5-ingredient beet salad with lemon & mint. Perfect in the summer (or switch the fresh mint to dried herbs in the winter), the salad is naturally vegan and Paleo-friendly.
overhead shot of fresh beet salad on a slate plate

I love beets. My husband does not. We have nevertheless managed to make our marriage work.

And yet, he now likes–make that really likes–this simple beet salad. Cue the fireworks!

close-up of fresh beet salad with lemon & mint on a slate plate with a fork alongside
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Perfect Fresh Beet Salad with Lemon & Mint

The salad is a minimalist affair from start to finish, and, thanks to the additions of fresh mint and a double dose of lemon (both the juice and zest), it sings summer. It is already in the 90s here in Texas, so that is exactly what we need.

The reason why this salad convinced my husband of the deliciousness of beets (at last!) is this: the beets are raw. 

If you, or anyone else you know, has an indifference towards, or dislike of, beets, raw may be the solution for you, too. It may sound counterintuitive, but the deep, earthy-sweet flavor associated with beets is most pronounced when they are cooked; when raw, the flavor is delicate and nuanced. Partner that subtle flavor with some citrus-y tang and sweet mint, and you have a winning salad, by any measure.

Ingredients for the Beet Salad 

The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.

Ready to try it? You won’t need much in terms of time, effort or ingredients. I think you can already guess the primary ingredients:

  • raw beets
  • a lemon
  • fresh mint leaves

You will also need a small amount of maple syrup and Dijon mustard for the dressing, plus salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

ingredients for fresh beet salad n a wooden cutting board

Step by Step Directions

Note that the complete directions are also in the recipe card below.

How to Peel and Grate Beets with Ease

The only part of the salad that takes any real effort (and it is still marginal) is peeling and grating the beets. However,  it’s really no big deal if you do the following:

  1. Wear rubber gloves. Really, truly, you want to do this. Beets stain your nails and hands (profoundly!). Pull on the gloves and cleaning up will be a breeze (the stain rinses right off the gloves). Also, wearing gloves makes it easier to hold the beets when peeling and grating.
  2. Line your cutting board: Do you want to scrub your cutting board for days? No you do not. Therefore, avoid staining by placing a big, doubled piece of wax paper or parchment paper (or plastic wrap, or foil, any liner that is food safe) on top of your cutting board before grating. Yes, do double if using paper; the color can leak through a single layer, which is most aggravating.
  3. Use a  box grater. Sure, you can use a food processor grater attachment to grate the beets, but good heavens, what a purple pain to clean! Use it if you need to, but opt for a box grater if you have the option. The grating itself will only take a minute or so.
  4. Wear an apron: Do you like your clothes? Do you wear them in public? If you responded yes to either or both of these questions, don an apron. Or throw on an old t-shirt.

Make the Simple Double Lemon Salad Dressing

Ok, grating done! Gloves removed, liner tossed, grater rinsed, it’s time to make a super-simple dressing.

Grate a teaspoon of zest from, and then juice your lemon. One half of the lemon will probably be enough to measure the tablespoon that you need. Place both zest and juice in a small jar along with maple syrup (I have other options in the recipe card) and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Cover and shake, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

I know that this sounds like a tiny amount of dressing, but it is really all that you need. Grated fresh beets are juicy. This amount of dressing adds a punch of flavor without excess liquid. Also, because the beets have a natural sweetness, very little sweetener is needed for enhancing their flavor.

Chill the Salad Before Serving

Toss the beets with the dressing, cover and chill until cold. Wait until the salad is cold to adjust the salt; chilling can alter the needs for salt.

Further, hold off on adding the mint until just before serving. This will prevent the mint from wilting and darkening.  You can refrigerate the salad at this point for up to several days.

Add any additional salt (or pepper) as desired and toss the salad with the mint. Beets, mint and lemon create a perfect trinity of flavors in my humble opinion. I hope you think the same!

When fall and winter roll around, you can replace the fresh mint with parsley, chives or dill, or add about a teaspoon of dried herbs (e.g., dill, herbes de Provence, marjoram) to the dressing.

Happy eating, everyone!

FAQ

How Should I Store the Beet Salad?

Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Add the mint just before serving.

Can I Use Bottled Lemon Juice in place of Fresh Lemon?

You can, but the salad will have less flavor since the recipe uses both the zest (which packs a big punch of lemon flavor) and the juice of the lemon.

Can I Use Another Vegetable Besides Beets?

Yes. Use any equal amount of freshly grated carrots, parsnips, or a combination, in place of the beets.

More Simple, Light, Delectable Salads:

  1. Baby Bok Choy Chopped Salad (with Ginger Dressing)
  2. Lemony Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad (vegan, keto)
  3. Chopped Radicchio Salad (vegan, keto option)
  4. Lemony Celery Crunch Salad (vegan, keto)
  5. Moroccan Carrot Chickpea Salad {vegan}
  6. Sesame-Ginger Edamame Carrot Salad {high-protein}
fresh beet salad with lemon & mint on a slate plate with a fork alongside
Beet Salad with Lemon & Mint (5 ingredients, oil-free)

Beet Salad with Lemon & Mint (5 ingredients, oil-free)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Easy, fresh, 5-ingredient beet salad with lemon and mint. Perfect in the summer (or switch the fresh mint to dried herbs in the winter), the salad is naturally vegan and Paleo-friendly.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 medium-large beets, trimmed and peeled (12 oz/340 g total)
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) maple syrup (see notes for other sweetener options; if you prefer, use 2 teaspoons oil of choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) packed fresh mint leaves, fineley chopped
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Coarsely grate the beets using a hand grater or food processor. Transfer beets to a medium bowl.
  2. Grate 1 teaspoon zest from the lemon; squeeze enough juice to measure 1 tablespoon.
  3. In a small jar, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup, and mustard. Cover and shake until emulsified. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pour dressing over beets and toss to coat. Refrigerate until cold (about 1 hour) or for up to 3 days. Just before serving, adjust salt and pepper to taste and toss in mint leaves.

Notes

Storage: Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days; add the mint just before serving.

Maple Syrup Options: An equal amount of agave nectar, brown rice syrup, sugar alternative sweetener, or liquid honey (if not vegan) can be used in place of the vinegar. 2 teaspoons coconut sugar plus 1 and 1/2 teaspoons water can also be used as a substitute.

Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1/4 of recipe (about 3/4 cup)
Amount Per Serving Calories 61Total Fat 2.5gSaturated Fat 0.4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 81.3mgCarbohydrates 8.1gFiber 2.4gSugar 5.7gProtein 1.4g

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About Camilla

I'm Camilla, food writer, author, runner, and spin instructor. PowerHungry® is where I share my easy, minimalist, plant-based recipes, designed for living a healthy, delicious, empowered life.

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