Not every beet salad recipe is the same. This beet salad with spiced yogurt and watercress brings together a variety of textures and flavors into one salad bowl. Sweet figs complement the tangy yogurt and earthy beets.
Beets are very dense, so roasting whole ones can take up to 2 hours. Instead, we peeled and cut the beets into small chunks and microwaved them in a covered bowl with a small amount of water. Cutting them into pieces exposed much more surface area so they cooked faster, and cooking them in the microwave (as opposed to on the stovetop) caused water molecules inside the beets to boil rapidly and intensely, so they cooked through in less than 30 minutes.
Be sure to wear gloves when preparing the beets to prevent your hands from becoming stained. For the best presentation, use red beets here, not golden or Chioggia beets.
Yogurt Ties It Together
For the salad, we used the yogurt as an anchor for the other ingredients by thinning it with lime juice and water, spreading it on a platter.
The moisture content of Greek yogurt varies, so add the water slowly in step 2.
Building the Bowl of the Beet Salad Recipe
Spoon the tangy yogurt onto the plate and swoop into it so it creates the saucy base. Top it with lightly dressed beets and greens. Sprinkle on toasted pistachios for crunch.
Amber-hued Golden Figs bring a tangy, delicate sweet, nutty flavor that can swing savory or sweet. Mission Figs add a jammy familiar sweetness to the salad. Either type of Sun-Maid or Orchard Choice Fig works in this beet salad with spiced yogurt and watercress.
We like to make this salad with watercress, but baby arugula can be substituted. Both types of greens introduce a peppery flavor into the beet salad recipe.
Fig beet salad with spiced yogurt and watercress
- 2 pounds beets , trimmed, peeled + cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon + 2 pinches table salt , divided
- 1 1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro , divided
- 3 TBSP + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil , divided
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest + 7 teaspoons lime juice , divided, plus extra juice for seasoning (2 limes)
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 ounces (5 cups) watercress , torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios , toasted and chopped, divided
- In the largest bowl your microwave will accommodate, stir together beets, ⅓ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover with plate and microwave until beets can be easily pierced with a paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through microwaving. Drain beets in colander and let cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, finely chopped figs, 3 tablespoons cilantro, 2 tablespoons oil, ginger, lime zest and 1 tablespoon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Slowly stir in up to 3 tablespoons water until mixture has consistency of regular yogurt. Season with salt, pepper, and extra lime juice to taste. Spread yogurt mixture over serving platter.
- In a large bowl, combine watercress, ¼ cup chopped figs, 2 tablespoons pistachios, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 teaspoons lime juice, and pinch salt and toss to coat. Arrange watercress mixture on top of yogurt mixture, leaving 1-inch border of yogurt mixture. Add beets to now-empty bowl and toss with remaining 1 teaspoon oil, remaining 2 teaspoons lime juice, and remaining pinch salt. Place beet mixture on top of watercress mixture. Sprinkle salad with remaining ¼ cup chopped figs, remaining 2 tablespoons pistachios, and remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro and serve.