This Beetroot & Pumpkin Salad, packed with tender pieces of roasted pumpkin and beetroot, blue cheese, pine nuts, and dressed with a simple vinaigrette, makes a fantastic fall side dish or lunch salad.
If you love a good salad, you’re definitely going to want to try this one. In the fall when I’m making pumpkin more often, this salad is my lunch at least once a week. It’s so packed with flavor and healthy goodness that it’s hard to resist.
The pumpkin, beets, and blue cheese form the base of this salad that almost doesn’t even need the greens, to be honest. But I do love throwing in a wild lettuce mix to give it some more leafiness. Tie it all together with a simple, yet powerful cider vinaigrette or this aromatic toasted spice vinaigrette.
» For another great salad try this Golden Beet Salad with Toasted Vinaigrette.
Ingredients for This Recipe
This delicious fall salad uses easy ingredients that you can find at the grocery throughout the year, even though it’s really more of a fall salad. You can use the ingredients laid out below, or substitute with one of the options we’ve given. You really can load this salad up with the flavors you most enjoy.
- Pumpkin – In the fall, pumpkins are everywhere and they are not just for carving. There are so many great things you can do with pumpkin and this salad is one of them. You can use a carving or pie pumpkin. If they’re not in season, you can also use a butternut squash, acorn squash, or just about any edible squash you want.
- Beetroot – After I learned how stupid simple it is to cook beets in the Instant Pot, I make them all the time now. All it takes is 30 minutes and the skin peels right off. You can also buy beets already cooked in the store, if you want to save time.
- Blue cheese – The blue cheese adds a lovely fat element to this salad and it compliments the vinaigrette really well. If you don’t love blue, you can use a milder stilton, or feta cheese.
- Vinaigrette – For a simple dressing, use this recipe for the vinaigrette, which is super easy to make at home with just olive oil, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and a dollop of honey. If you want to try something a little different, try this toasted spice vinaigrette.
- Salad greens – I use a wild lettuce mix or mixed greens for this salad, but you can also use baby spinach or arugula.
- Nuts & Seeds – You can use whatever seeds and nuts you want on this salad. I always put pumpkin and sunflower seeds on my salads, but I’ve also included toasted pine nuts for additional crunch.
How to Cook the Pumpkin
My favorite way to cook pumpkin is in the Instant Pot, but it can be made in the oven or even in the air fryer. The choice is up to you. Do whatever works best for you.
Start by cutting the top off the pumpkin and removing the seeds and pulp. Once you’ve got it cleaned, Add some olive oil to the flesh along with salt and pepper. Then you can move on to your chosen cooking method.
- In the oven, place the pumpkin face down on a baking sheet. It can be cut in half, or in smaller pieces. Cook at 350° F (176° C) for about 40 minutes, until the flesh of the pumpkin is soft. You can then carve the pumpkin off the skin and cut it into cubes. See full instructions.
- In the Instant Pot, you can also cook the pumpkin whole or in pieces. Set it on the trivet and put a cup of water into the inner pot. Press the pressure cook button and set the time to 7 minutes. When the time is up, do a 5 min natural release before releasing the remaining pressure. You can then peel and cube the pumpkin. See full instructions.
How to Cook the Beetroot
There are also a lot of ways you can cook the beetroot. My favorite way is in the Instant Pot, but you can also roast them in the oven, or boil them on the stove top.
- In the Instant Pot, set cleaned beets on the trivet. Pour in a cup of water. Lock the lid and set to high pressure for 20 minutes. When the time is up, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure. After the beets have cooled, you can peel and cube them. See full instructions.
- On the stove top, set a pot of water to boil on high heat. When boiling, add the cleaned beets. Boil 20 to 40 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Smaller beets take about 20 minutes, medium beets about 30 minutes and large beets about 40 minutes. Once cooled, you can peel and cube them. See full instructions.
How to Make The Salad
Cooking the beets and pumpkin are the time consuming steps of this recipe. You can cook them using your preferred method (see above for details). Then cool completely and cube them into small pieces.
I like to make this salad in individual bowls, because the beets tend to make everything red when it’s mixed in a salad bowl. However, you can serve it in one large bowl, if you wish. Just don’t toss it until just before serving.
Dress the lettuce with the beets, pumpkin, blue cheese, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey until emulsified. The easier way to make the dressing is to add all the ingredients to a small air tight container and shake it for 10 seconds. Easy peasy.
Pour the dressing over the salad just before you serve it. There’s no need to toss the salad to mix everything together. Mixing it can cause everything to turn red, and the pumpkin can become mushy.
This salad is amazing just as it is but if you want to change things up try one of these variations.
- Different greens – Try using arugula, spinach, or kale.
- Different cheese – Instead of blue cheese try goat cheese, feta, or gorgonzola.
- Switch up the dressing – Try this toasted spice vinaigrette or a creamy dressing like ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing.
- Try different nuts – Try candied or toasted walnuts or pecans, sunflower seeds, or pistachios
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of pumpkin can I use?
You can use a carving or pie pumpkin. If they’re not in season, you can also use a butternut squash, acorn squash, or just about any edible squash you want.
Can I use precooked beets?
Absolutely! I’m all for saving time. With precooked beets all you have to do is slice them up and add them to the salad.
What to Serve With This Salad
Almost every time I make this it’s as a lunch salad, so I serve a double portion with nothing else on the side. However, it also makes a great side salad that goes with so many different dishes. Try one of the suggestions below.
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Beetroot & Pumpkin Salad
- 2 small beets cubed
- 1 cup pumpkin cubed
- 2 cups wild lettuce mix
- 1 ounce blue cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts lightly toasted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinaigrette
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the beets and pumpkin using your preferred method (see post for details). Cool and cube.
- Divide the lettuce among two bowls. Dress the lettuce with beets, pumpkin, blue cheese, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts.
- In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey until emulsified.
- Pour dressing over salad. Enjoy.
Beets and pumpkin can easily be made in the oven, Instant Pot, or stove top. See the cooking instructions in the article.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite Instant Pot recipes over at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, air fryer recipes at Air Fry Anytime, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
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Laura is a home cook who loves making new recipes and finding new favorite things to eat, whether at home or abroad. She also runs a popular travel blog and spends a lot of her time traveling for food.