Warm roasted beets, cool and creamy goat cheese, tender baby spinach and crispy fried shallots all tied together with a perfectly sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette. This salad is for the beet lovers!
I often find beet salads to be far too sweet. More like a dessert than a salad. While the formula here might feel familiar (beets + goat cheese + spinach) there is one special ingredient that really ups the savory factor – crispy fried shallots!
Let me tell you right now, once you learn how to make crispy fried shallots you won’t want to stop. They’re so easy to make and absolutely delicious. The trick is to start in cold oil and cook them slowly. Slice the shallots thinly and evenly (ideally with a mandoline) then fry them until golden brown. They’re soft and pliable while they’re warm but as soon as they cool down they transform into the perfect crispy bite. They can be made several hours ahead, or even the day before.
This recipe calls for cooked beets. If you’re not familiar with cooking beets don’t worry it’s very simple. Simply cut away the root end of each beet, peel them then drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt. Place in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour (depending on their size) until a small sharp knife inserted in the middle indicates that they’re tender. You can use red beets, golden beets or a combination of both.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Check out the recipe card for ingredient notes and substitutions.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Fry the Shallots
Place the shallots and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil begins sizzling and bubbling give the shallots a stir. Continue frying and stirring occasionally until golden brown – this could take anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined tray to cool. Sprinkle with salt.
Step 2. Make the Dressing
Whisk together the dressing in a large bowl, starting with the dijon mustard, honey and vinegar then slowly stream in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3. Toss and Serve
Add the rest of the salad ingredients into the bowl with the dressing; spinach, goat cheese, and half the shallots. Toss to coat. Divide the salad between bowls and top with the remaining shallots.
- Use store-bought fried onions? Sure! Many supermarkets carry crispy fried onions year round. They’re usually coated in a batter unlike the shallots in this recipe but that’s totally fine. Asian grocery stores (like H-mart) will have crispy shallots available.
- Use feta instead of goat cheese? Yes, feta is a great substitute for goat cheese and vice versa.
- Roast the beets ahead of time? Definitely! Roasted beets will keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Use arugula/chard/baby kale instead of spinach. Yes, any hearty, green leafy lettuce will work for this salad.
Check Out More Delicious Salads:
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Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallots
- 4 large shallots, peeled
- 1 cup neutral oil for frying
- 2 large beets, roasted or 4 small/medium beets *see notes for roasting instructions*
- 1 6oz bag baby spinach about 4 cups
- 4 oz goat cheese crumbles
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Start by making the crispy shallots: thinly slice the shallots crosswise into rings on a mandoline (they should be about the thickness of a dime). If you don't have a mandoline just use your sharpest knife and aim for even cuts.
- Line a small baking tray or plate with a few layers of paper towel. Combine the sliced shallots and neutral oil in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes (turn down heat if they seem to be coloring too quickly), until they gradually turn golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to the prepared tray. (Save the oil for another use.) Sprinkle lightly with salt. They will become crisp as they cool.
- For the beets; if you haven't peeled your beets already do so now, then dice them into small bite-sized cubes. Place the diced beets in a microwave safe container and pop them in the microwave for 60-90 seconds – just until warm.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dijon mustard, honey and balsamic vinegar. While whisking begin to slowly steam in the olive oil, whisking continuously until the dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the spinach, goat cheese, warm beets and half the fried shallots to the bowl with the dressing. Toss to coat. Divide the salad between bowls and top with the remaining crispy shallots and a few turns of freshly cracked black pepper. Serve right away.
- Beets:You can use red beets, golden beets or a combination of both. See cooking instructions below.
- Baby Spinach: Arugula or baby kale can be substituted for spinach.
- Goat Cheese: Feta is a good alternative to goats cheese and vice versa.