Beet Salad with Horseradish

This unusually warm winter has us eating differently than we normally do at this time of year. I am still interested in cold salads and ice cream, where normally all I want are soups and heartier fare. It is hard to complain when a normal winter in Chicago brings sub-zero temperatures and a lot of pain and suffering. But still, Chicagoans are all walking about confused by our….good fortune? Weather effects our eating in ways I hadn’t considered and so today, in late February, I bring you a cold beet salad.

Beet salads are a dime a dozen. I tend to stay clear because they are often too sweet for me. Nancy Silverton apparently agrees and she inspired me to try adding some horseradish to spice things up. It works. I use Atomic brand prepared horseradish, which is fantastically spicy. You’ll end up needing somewhere between a tablespoon and 1/4 cup, depending on the prepared horseradish you choose and your sensitivity to heat. A handful of toasted walnuts is a good addition, especially it you want to add some crunch and protein. Silverton also suggests the addition of mache, I used chives but baby arugula would work and would give you even more spice.


This morning, as if to remind us we were still firmly in winter, Chicago was blanketed in a beautiful snow. But I’m not worried, they’re predicting sun and the 40’s by Monday. I’ll stick with beet salad.

Beets with Horseradish (adapted from the Mozza Cookbook)


  • 1 pound red beets, stemmed, scrubbed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons oilive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dressing and Serving:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • prepared horseradish
  • fresh chives (I used about a dozen), cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the beets in a small baking dish and toss them with the oil, salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until the beets are tender and easily pierced with a knife. Remove the foil and set the beets aside until cool enough to handle. When cool, remove the skin from the beets and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Transfer the cubed beets to a medium-sized bowl.

Make a dressing by whisking together the apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. pour the dressing over the beets and toss to coat them. Add between 1-4 tablespoons of prepared horseradish to the bowl with the beets and toss to evenly distribute. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the chives. Serve at room temperature, or cold. 4 servings.

29 comments to “Beet Salad with Horseradish”

  1. Gorgeous! Love the purple color. In Indian cuisine, beet curries are quite common and amazing, and this salad brings back fond memories

  2. I love a good beet salad, but I’m always forgetting that salad of any sort is even possible during these months. I love the idea of adding sharp, peppery flavours to beets! Do you think that some sort of soft cheese would be out of place in this salad?

  3. Hi Katie- Good question. Certainly beets and soft goat cheese is a very common combo and tastes good. I don’t think it would be bad, but I am not sure it would add much. Give it a try and let us know! I contemplated a sharp aged cheddar, which I think works flavor-wise, but the texture might be weird.

  4. I think I have just found my next pregnancy craving. Holy COW that looks AMAZING.

  5. Re the weirdly warm winter: I feel like Chicagoans don’t know how to react because a warm winter presents an identity crisis. A big part of who we are as Chicagoans is that we’re tough mo-fos who can brave the biggest baddest winter around– we’re proud of that fact and when that is taken away from us… who are we?!?!? I just don’t even know anymore, Tim.

  6. I feel like I have gone on a permanent salad kick lately and this sounds fantastic. I love spice and love beets and chives. Since I happen to have all the ingredients in my fridge and we are having company for dinner I will pop them in the oven right now. Thanks for the great sounding recipe.

  7. Nearby in Michigan, I too am at a loss as to how to respond to this continually shifting weather. But I think that your salad choice is perfect–plenty appropriate for either blizzard-like conditions or the warmth of springtime!

  8. I’m obsessed with beets…. The horseradish sounds like a great addition.

  9. The warm weather has me grilling Black & Blue Turkey burgers and corn on the cob. This would be a fine addition. I usually make Jacques Pepin’s beet salad, but I’ll try this next. Thanks.

  10. i love beetroot, so i’m always on the look out for new ways to use it….weather here in the uk is brightening, but not quite yet salad weather so bookmarking this to revisit when spring finally arrives

    hope you’re having a lovely weekend


  11. I am glad to see beets and horseradish here.
    ….beets + horseradish is a very popular serving in Poland and Russia. Beets + grated horseradish + spices (cloves, sometimes vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, ginger – depending on individual taste) called “ćwikła” is traditionally served with meet or as an accompaniment to charcuterie. I love it. Or, beets + chives + walnuts + sunflower oil + garlic + mustard + honey – a warming – up salad which I prepare quite often in winter time (the recipe was given to me by the Ukrainian guy). Anyway, I am glad to see on your blog beets and horseradish.

  12. I sat down to read your post while eating a cabbage and citrus salad that would have been cabbage soup any other winter! This beet salad reminds me of the excellent beet salad that they used to make at Anyway Cafe in New York (along with a fab selection of infused vodka). The last time I went though they had traded it in for the standard goat cheese and beet salad, and I was so disappointed that I have not returned. Now I will have to try it at home!

  13. It’s summer here in New Zealand and I made this salad for tonight’s bbq to go with chicken & chardonnay sausages, corn on the cob and ciabatta. I felt tempted to add feta but, after reading the comments, decided against it. The salad looks great in the bowl.

  14. Beets + horseradish is probably one of my favorite flavor combinations—something about the bite of the horseradish cuts that mineral-sweet beet flavor so perfectly. I’ve never had it like this though, with the beets tossed in horseradish. I’ll have to try (when I’m back stateside, where there are winter vegetables…)

  15. I love the combination of beets and horseradish. I’ve been sorta obsessed with beets these days, so I’m literally drooling over this.

  16. Having grown up with pickled beets as a winter mainstay, this looks like a great variation on a theme. I love beets. We in Missouri are having a weird winter also with much higher than normal temps. I think a very early spring is on the way.

  17. Beets are a favourite and the horseradish in this salad would be a great addition. I agree that the weather impacts what we eat…here in Australia we have had an unusually cool summer and there have been days I would have happily had a bowl of hot soup.

  18. I think I love these. Oh, and I bought a gallon of ice cream yesterday. I’ve eaten through a third of it already. It is so warm! It’s hit 80 already here in SC!

    I do think it’s interesting how similar the dressing is for these beets and for some red cabbage salads– as if the Germans and the Russians had a good secret.

  19. This beet salad looks great! I think I’ll love this more with some toasted walnuts.

  20. Delicious, and not unlike my beet salad at the fabulous Ned Ludd, a slow food mecca in Portland.

  21. I’ve got a new love for beets. This sounds good!

  22. I can’t wait for beets to come into season here but sadly have a long wait! They would be perfect with your dressing. One of my favourite veggies, not to mention the colour!

  23. i love beets and with the addition of horseradish (another favorite) i think i have found what i am making tonight. thank you tim!

  24. I’ve been busy eating my homemade pickled beets but I’m anxious to move onwards and get back to eating beets like this. The salad looks gorgeous and I love horseradish. A beaut.

  25. This salad is so delicious. I had seen an adaptation of the Mozza recipe in the LA Times (2009) but totally forgot about it until I saw your adaptation. Sweet! Thanks! I love the combination of horseradish with beets. I made a salad with that combination last fall for the Jewish New Year. In that version (courtesy of George Mendez by way of Food & Wine Magazine), pistachio nuts were added. I highly recommend it! Now I’ll try it with chives :)

  26. made this last night, added some nuts, and it was great! thanks!!

  27. My husband loves beetroots and I’m always looking for new ideas on how to cook them! Thank you for sharing! Your blog is such an inspiration!

  28. Aw, thanks Assia! I hope you guys enjoy these…

  29. Ooo, I make beet salads all the time but I’ve never made it with horseradsih. Sounds like something right up my alley…looking forward to having this one night this week. Yum!

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