The vibrant colors in our Roasted Beet Salad with Fennel and Radish is a stunning autumn salad for your Thanksgiving feast! The varied flavors of the red and golden roasted sweet beets pair well with the mild licorice taste of fennel, tangy oranges and zesty watermelon radishes. You need this Roasted Beet Salad with Fennel and Radish on your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table!
This show-stopping roasted beet salad with fennel and radish will take center stage on your dinner table. The bright watermelon radish “flowers” add an extra, eye-catching element as a garnish.
What are watermelon radishes?
Watermelon radishes are an heirloom variety that originated in China. They are in the same family as broccoli and cabbage and thrive in cool soil. Usually, they are harvested and available in the produce market in the spring and fall. Watermelon radishes have a light green, cream-colored outer skin with purplish coloring at the top. They are often mistaken as rutabagas unless the market cuts one in half to expose their beautiful magenta color. Watermelon radishes have a mildly spicy flavor and do not taste like a watermelon.
How to make this Roasted Beet Salad with Fennel and Radishes:
We recently published our recipe of Roasted Beets and used them to create this luscious salad. You can get a jump on the roasted beet salad by roasting the beets in advance. Be sure to roast the red and golden beets separately so the red beets do not discolor the beautiful golden beets.
Step 1: Mix up the vinaigrette.
A sweet-tangy vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for this luscious roasted beet salad and compliments the sweetness of the roasted beets. This vinaigrette is so easy, just add everything to a jar, put the lid on it and shake it up. Set it aside as this is a layered salad with the dressing added as you build each layer.
Step 2: The red and golden beets:
The roasted beets are the backbone of this salad. Roasting brings out their sweet, earthy flavor. Follow the instructions in our previous post of, Roasted Beets, then chill them in the refrigerator. Cut the beets into thick wedges and place them on separate paper towel-lined plates to absorb the juices.
Step 3: Prepare the fennel:
Fennel is a controversial vegetable, you either like it or you hate it. If you are among the fennel haters you can substitute it with another firm, crisp vegetable. Maybe thin slices of jicama, or celery slices. Personally, I love the light licorice flavor of fennel although I am technically a licorice hater. The paper-thin slices just seem to add a distinctive taste to this salad.
First, set up a bowl of lemon-water for the slices of fennel. The acidic lemon water will keep the fennel from discoloring. Next, trim the stalks off of the fennel and remove any brown outer layers of the fennel bulb. Slice the bulb in half from top to bottom and cut out the core.
If you have a mandolin, set it on the thinnest setting and slice the fennel. If you do not have a mandolin you can use a vegetable peeler and make thin shavings or shards. Place the fennel slices in the bowl of lemon water for five minutes, drain and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
Step 4: For the Watermelon radishes:
Scrub the radishes and trim off the tops and tails. Use a vegetable peeler and peel the radish. With the mandolin still set on the thinnest setting slice the radishes into pretty round slices. Reserve seven of the slices for radish flowers to garnish the assembled salad. Stack the remaining slices and cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks. Place on a plate and reserve.
Step 5: The orange slices:
The natural sweetness of these juicy orange sections add a unique citrus flavor to our beet, fennel and radish salad. Preparing the oranges is an easier task than you might think. Simply slice off each end, then stand the orange on one cut end. Position your knife at the top of the other end and slice downward through a strip of peel and white pith. Continue around the entire orange, then trim off any white pith remaining. Turn the orange on its side and cut into 1/4-inch thick round slices. Cut each slice into quarters and place them on a plate.
Step 6: Red onion slices:
Red onions are always welcome on my salads as they are crunchy, spicy and colorful. Peel and slice the onion as thinly as possible with either a knife or the mandolin. Reserve the slices on a plate.
Step 7: Arrange the roasted beet salad with fennel and radish:
This is it, people….time to put all the pieces together and create the salad of the year! Our Beet, Fennel and Radish Salad is a three-layered salad that is best assembled on a large platter or shallow salad bowl. It is not tossed as that would cause the beets to discolor the entire picture salad. Here’s how to put the salad together:
Randomly arrange 1/3 of the red and golden beets across the bottom of the platter. Next, sprinkle 1/3 of the fennel slices/shaves over the beets, then 1/3 of the radish strips, 1/3 of the oranges, 1/3 of the onion slices and the 1/3 of the candied pecans, if using. Drizzle two tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the vegetables. This is the first layer. Repeat this process with two more layers, ending each layer with the vinaigrette.
To create the pretty watermelon radish flowers, make one cut in each of the reserved radishes from the center to the edge. Fold the slice, overlapping to create a cone shape. Place the flowers, seam side down, onto the top and sides of the salad. Add sprigs of mint beside the flowers and snip some of the fennel fronds over the top. Voilà! An edible centerpiece!
If these instructions for a beet, fennel and radish salad appear complicated, trust me, they really are not. You will be rewarded a gorgeous and jaw-dropping centerpiece salad that will long be remembered by your guests.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving feast! ❤️
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:
- Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad: With watermelons available year-round there is every reason to enjoy this crisp, sweet salad anytime.
- Shaved Brussels Spouts Salad with Caesar Dressing: This salad is a harvest feast! Crisp and crunchy with shaved brussels sprouts, fresh parsley, and a creamy caesar dressing.
- Roasted Baby Beet Salad with Feta Cheese This recipe for roasted baby beet salad with feta cheese is simple and elegant. It is presented on a bed of crisp greens and finished with a tangy champaign-thyme vinaigrette.
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For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
For the Salad:
- 8 medium roasted beets, 4 red and 4 golden, chilled (see notes)
- 1 lemon, juiced and added to a bowl of water
- 2 medium fennel bulbs, cored and shaved or thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 2 large watermelon radishes, thinly sliced, reserve 8-10 slices for flowers
- 3 navel oranges, peel removed and sliced. Cut slices into quarters
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
For the vinaigrette:
- In a small jar combine the balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, oil, salt and pepper, shake to blend, reserve.
- Keep the beets separate from each color so the red beets do not bleed and color the golden beets. Working with on color of beets at a time, cut them in half and slice into wedges at about 1/2-inch thick. Place the beets on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any juices.
For the Fennel:
- Add the lemon juice to a bowl of water….the lemon juice will prevent the fennel from turning brown.
- Trim the stalks off the fennel close to the top of the bulb and either discard or save for another project. Reserve some of the fronds to snip as a garnish. Set the bulb on it’s bottom and slice the bulb in half. Remove and discard the core and any brown outer layers of the fennel bulb.
- Using a mandolin set on the thinnest blade possible, or the #1 blade on a food processor, shave the fennel. Add the shaved fennel the bowl of lemon water and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the fennel in a mesh strainer, then tip out onto a kitchen towel and pat dry with paper towels and place on a plate.
Prepare the watermelon radishes:
- Trim the tops of the radish and remove the root tail. Peel the radish with a vegetable peeler and slice the radish as thinly as possible.
- Set aside 8-10 of the prettiest slices to make the garnish flowers.
- Stack the remaining slices and cut them into 1/8-inch strips. Transfer to a plate.
Prepare the Oranges:
Working with one orange at a time, cut both ends off and stand the orange on end.
- Slice off the peel and the white membrane. Cut the peeled orange into 1/4-inch slices and each slice into quarters and place on a plate. Repeat with remaining oranges.
The Red Onion:
- Peel the onion and slice as thinly as possible, place on a small plate.
Arrange the Salad in 3 layers:
- On a large platter or shallow salad bowl, randomly arrange 1/3 of the red and golden beets across the platter. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the fennel shaves, 1/3 of the radish strips, 1/3 of the oranges and 1/3 of the onion slices and toasted pecans.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette over the layer and repeat the process for two more layers.
For the garnishes:
Snip fennel fronds over the top of the salad. To make the radish flowers: Place the tip of a paring knife at the center of a radish slice an cut to the edge. Hold the radish and overlap the radish edges, creating a cone. Place the flowers randomly on the salad along with sprigs of mint.
Prepare each salad component on a separate plate then the salad will be assembled in 3 layers. Each layer will be drizzled with vinaigrette.
Keep the beets separated during roasting, chilling and preparing so the red does not bleed into the golden beets.
A mandolin works well in slicing the fennel and radishes super thin. If you do not have a mandolin, the 1mm blade of a food processor will work.
Add the shaved fennel to the lemon water immediately after shaving. The acid in the lemon will prevent the fennel from turning brown.
Assemble the salad in layers rather tossing and mixing. This will prevent the red beets from coloring the other components.
Place the watermelon radish flower, seam down, and push the center with your finger to set it firmly in place.
Amount Per ServingCalories 149 Total Fat 12g Saturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 10g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 136mg Carbohydrates 11g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 3g Sugar 7g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 2g