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Roasted Beet(root) Salad with Pecans

A colorful and flavorful gluten-free salad or side dish–perfect for special holiday meals.

gluten free beet salad recipe with feta cheese thanksgiving side dishFrom Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonaghadapted from a recipe by Marjorie Marino, Bulacan, Philippines

We spent 2 weeks in South Africa and with my husband’s professional photos, (including videos of stroking 2-month-old white lion cubs and adult cheetah purring with its head on our sneakers) have given talks on South Africa as well as a gluten-free South African buffet.

I was given this vegan recipe, and then used butter, etc to make it my own. It quotes maple syrup since vegans won’t use honey.  I use honey since I really don’t know if maple syrup was available in South Africa. And no tofu. Feta cheese would be widely used in South Africa. We saw huge platters of feta cheese and chunks of ripe tomatoes and cucumber everywhere as there are very large Greek communities.

Gluten-Free Roasted Beet(root) Salad with Pecans

Makes 4 servings

“(English and South African name), also known as the table beet, garden beet, red beet or sometimes simply as beet, is one of the many cultivated varieties of beets and arguably the most commonly encountered variety in South Africa.”



  • 9 small to medium red and yellow beets
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter
  • 1 cup  (4oz) chopped pecans, toasted in oven for about 10 minutes
  • 1/4 c (60 ml) maple syrup or honey
  • Salt & pepper
  • Feta Cheese to taste, or no cheese, my husband loves Feta.


  • ¼ cup (60ml)  white balsamic vinegar – I used Trader Joe’s
  • 1 tsp (5ml) gf Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) olive oil, I mix olive oil and avocado oil
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) chopped chives or green of green onions (spring onions, scallions). South African friend suggested cilantro (coriander leaves)
  • Salt and pepper
  • No sugar added to vinaigrette since nuts are mixed with maple syrup or honey and beets are sweet.


Preheat the oven to 400°F if roasting.

1. Wash and dry the beetroots and place in an oven-proof casserole dish. Bake covered from 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Allow to cool, then cut off each end and peel. I also cook them in a pan with water to cover for 45-60 minutes depending on size. Watch the water doesn’t boil away. To me, they lose flavor if I pressure cook them.

2. Heat the skillet/frying pan over medium heat and then add the nuts and let them heat if they were cooked in advance. Add the maple syrup/honey, let sizzle and nut honey mixture almosts turns to chewy toffee. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside. Don’t overcook, it burns easily.

3. To make the dressing, add all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth.

4. To assemble the salad, slice the beets and arrange them on 4 plates. Sprinkle with the nuts and crumble the tofu over the beets. No tofu, feta would be more normal in South Africa and I don’t like tofu, plus over 90% soy is gmo.Whisk the dressing once more, and then drizzle some over each plate. Serve immediately.


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