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Beet-Feta Salad with Garlicky Crispy Walnuts

This savory, easy beet feta salad with garlicky crispy walnuts takes no more than ten minutes to put together using beets cooked in the Instant Pot. A perfect and colorful combo of the earthiness of the beets plus salty and sour notes.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword beet feta walnut salad, beet salad, dairy free option, easy salad, easy side dish, Gluten-free, Instant Pot, white balsamic vinaigrette
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Beth of A Meal In Mind


For the beets

  • 3 medium to large beets 3 to 4 inches across
  • 1 cup water for the Instant Pot
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar I like Trader Joe's
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon or small sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme (optional, but delicious) for garnish
  • 3 ounces dairy or non-dairy feta cheese for garnish

For the Crispy Walnuts

  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon pink sea salt or more to taste
  • 3/8 teaspoon garlic powder or more to taste


For the beets

  • Rinse beets, and if you are not going to peel them, scrub well.
  • Place in the Instant Pot and cook on the pressure setting for 23-27 minutes, depending on the size of your beets. Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes, then release manually.
  • Allow the beets to cool enough to handle. This salad is as good warm as cold.
  • Peel the beets (unless you decided to eat them unpeeled) and cut off any remaining leaves from the tops. Slice thinly or cube them.
  • Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the cooked beets and stir gently to coat all sides.
  • The vinaigrette flavor will become somewhat more intense the longer the beets sit in it, so for a more strongly flavored salad, combine the beets and dressing in advance and refrigerate them. Remove from the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the olive oil to re-liquefy.
  • Serve on a bed of greens and garnish with feta cheese, crispy walnuts and thyme sprigs just before serving.

For the walnuts

  • Cover the walnuts with filtered water and allow to soak for 24-36 hours. Rinse about every 8 hours. Walnuts will swell slightly.
  • When they have soaked as long as you like, drain the walnuts thoroughly. Sprinkle the seasonings over the walnuts and stir well.
  • Place the seasoned walnuts on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 36-48 hours depending on your preference for texture. They become more buttery as they become completely dehydrated.
  • Allow to cool for no more than 30 minutes and store the crispy nuts in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.


Don't have a dehydrator? Prepare the walnuts as directed up to step 3. Spread the walnuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the walnuts at 350 degrees F for 6-8 minutes, then remove a nut, let it cool, and taste for crispness. Don't let them go any longer or they may burn - and burned walnuts smell terrible! Let your taste be your guide for this, because the roasting time can vary depending on your oven, the size of the walnuts, etc.