In Season :: Roasted Beet, Pear & Walnut Salad

By Jeanine Donofrio

I’m so thrilled to introduce our newest contributor Jeanine Donofrio and her new series In Season. Twice a month, she’ll be stopping by to share a healthy, delicious recipe inspired by one seasonal ingredient picked up from the farmer’s market. I’ve been a huge fan of Jeanine’s blog Love & Lemons for a while: it’s one of those rare sites that does much more than show beautifully-photographed food – I actually want to make everything that Jeanine creates! The fact that she happens to be a fellow Austinite is icing on the cake, and I can’t wait to see the gorgeous edibles she cooks up for this series. Without further ado…

Thanks Camille! I’m thrilled to be here!

I’ve been such a fan so I was excited when Camille asked me to lunch a few weeks ago. We not only ordered the same dish (Tofu Bun from Elizabeth St. Cafe), but we chatted about how we share almost identical tastes in food… from sweet potatoes to arugula… peaches to okra… and just about every seasonable vegetable in between.

But today, let’s talk about beets, shall we? A hearty root vegetable, they’re available pretty much all year round, but they’re best June through October. I picked up some gorgeous ones at our farmers market last week and decided they would go perfectly with some ripening pears that were sitting on my countertop. To balance all of the sweetness I added some tangy feta and toasty walnuts.

This would be great as a starter for a fall dinner party. I also make salads like this to have on hand for my weekday lunches. This one will keep for a couple of days in the fridge and it’s one of those salads that actually tastes a little bit better the second day. (although note that it won’t be prettier the second day).

Keep reading for the recipe…


serves 3-4 as a side dish


  • 3 medium sized beets, any variety (I used a mix of red and golden beets)
  • a small drizzle of olive oil, for roasting the beets
  • 1 ripe pear, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (or more)
  • a few handfuls of salad greens of your choice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional, for a heartier salad)
  • micro sprouts, for garnish (also optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • a drizzle of honey
  • salt & pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Roast the beets by drizzling them with a bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and wrapping them in foil. Depending on the size and freshness of your beets, they should take from 40 minutes to 1 hour to roast in the oven. Check occasionally, when they are fork-tender they are done. Set them aside to cool… as soon as they’re cool enough to touch, run them under the faucet and slide off the skins with your hands. Chop into roughly 1/2 inch cubes and set them aside to cool completely. (To save time, I suggest doing this up to one day ahead of time and popping them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad).
  2. (optional step) Take the already-cooked quinoa and toast it a little, by tossing it in a small hot skillet for a couple of minutes. Drizzle a little walnut oil and some salt on it, and remove from the heat and set aside. If you’re not familiar with how to cook quinoa, I like this method.
  3. Assemble all salad ingredients on a platter. Drizzle with a liberal amount of walnut oil, a bit of balsamic vinegar, a little honey, and some salt and pepper. (or for a cleaner look, toss the balsamic only with the red beets, before assembling the salad).

photos by Love & Lemons 

Comments (43)

  1. Debra says:

    …drooling…such colors, such beauty, thank you

    1. Jeanine Donofrio says:

      thank you! We eat with our eyes first, right?

  2. Yelle says:

    Gorgeous and delicious! It was a dish very similar to this that made my team in cooking class win our version of “restaurant wars”!

  3. Michele Westrick (Lovely Notes) says:

    Look perfect! Great for fall.

  4. classiq says:

    It looks absolutely delicious and I’m sure it tastes just the same. Looking forward to new in season recipes. 🙂

    1. Jeanine Donofrio says:

      glad you like! Looking forward to being back in a couple weeks with the next one!

  5. Erin | The Law Students Wife says:

    GORGEOUS! Thrilled by this addition. I’m a farmers market junkie myself and was just wondering what to pick up tomorrow. Beets it is! Love the idea of adding the quinoa too. Thanks Jeanine!

    1. Camille Styles says:

      Same here – I always like to go to the market with a “mission” so I don’t end up stocking up on produce I never use. I officially have my shopping list for this weekend ready to go! 🙂

    2. Jeanine Donofrio says:

      Thanks! I hope you like it!

  6. Elizabeth A. says:

    Congrats Jeanine! What a great salad to kick off your collaboration. Beets and asain pears? Who’d a thunk?

  7. kari says:

    the asian pears are incredible right now and i cannot stop buying them. thank you for posting a recipe with them! making this tonight!

    1. Jeanine Donofrio says:

      you’re welcome 🙂 They’re my favorite fall fruit too!

  8. Heather says:

    I was just thinking of things I should make for Thanksgiving. I am definitely going to be serving this! It looks delicious and I love all of the colors of the dish!

  9. Afton says:

    I don’t eat enough pears! I will have to make this!

  10. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    A beautiful, fresh seasonal dish, just what Jeanine does best!

  11. Emily: says:

    This salad was unique and delicious! My family and I liked it so much that I featured this recipe on my latest weekly meal plan. Thanks so much!

  12. Emily says:

    I did this yesterday and it was delicious! However the beets took forever to roast, do you roast them whole or do you cut them first?

    1. Jason says:

      I’m about to make this and was wondering the same thing….

      1. Camille Styles says:

        With small beets, I wrap them in foil and roast them whole at 400 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. For larger beets, I do the same, but cut them in half first.

        1. almadenmike says:

          >> CAMILLE STYLES JANUARY 11, 2014 AT 7:41 AM With small beets, I wrap them in foil and roast them whole at 400 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. For larger beets, I do the same, but cut them in half first.<<

          I wish this instruction was included in the main recipe instructions. I just wrapped a bunch or beets whole and started roasting them at 350. I guess I'll turn up the oven to 400, but it's too late to cut the larger ones in half.

  13. Sandra says:

    I roasted beets yesterday and came across this recipe…cannot wait to try it. I have Bartlett pears and blue cheese…do you think it will work together with some slivers of red onion?

    1. Camille Styles says:

      Oh yeah, that will be a match made in heaven! Enjoy!

      1. Sandra says:

        It was delicious even with the substitutions I had. Instead of the feta cheese and Asian pears, I used Danish blue cheese and Bartlett pears. I added some slivers of red onion and substituted the balsamic with raspberry vinegar. To die for!

  14. Isabelle T. says:

    To cook the beets, I put them in a pressure cooker for 15 mins. It’s a lot faster than roasting them in an oven for 1 hour.
    Other than that, the recipe looks delish and I can’t wait to try it!

    1. René says:

      Yes it is, but … cooked in the oven gives a much better taste (sweeter) than cooked in water. Especially when the beets come from biological grow!

  15. almadenmike says:

    Since the beets will be skinned after roasting, what’s the puporse of salt-and-peppering them before wrapping them in foil?

  16. John says:

    Excellent recipe but it seemed to take forever for the beets to reach the tender stage. My beets took one hour and 15 minutes to roast, and even then they were not particularly tender. Not sure what I did that caused that result.

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