In this beautifully balanced salad, sweet, earthy roasted beets pair with crisp shaved fennel and rich avocado in a bright-tasting orange-and-Dijon-mustard vinaigrette. Crumbled ricotta salata cheese finishes it off beautifully.

  • Yields: 4 to 6 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 mins 
  • Active: 35 mins

Ingredients (15)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 4) medium golden beets, tops removed and washed well
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb or 2 small, trimmed and shaved on a mandoline
  • A few handfuls wild or baby arugula
  • Ricotta salata, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the beets in an 8-inch square baking dish and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish (about 1/3 cup). Drizzle the beets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until a knife can be easily inserted into the center of the beets, about 40 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes (for small beets start checking after 40 minutes; large beets may need even longer than 70 minutes).
  2. To make the vinaigrette, in a bowl, whisk together the zest, juice, vinegar, mustard, shallot, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes, then whisk in the olive oil in a slow and steady stream; set aside.
  3. When the beets are ready, carefully remove the foil and let them sit until cool enough to handle. Peel and the beets. Cut them into thin slices. Arrange them on a serving platter and drizzle them with a little vinaigrette. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Top with the sliced avocado, shaved fennel, and baby arugula. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. Crumble or shave the ricotta salata over the top and serve, passing the extra vinaigrette on the side.