Turkish Beet Salad Recipe

This sweet and sour beet salad is an easy, inexpensive way to get your fill of refreshing Turkish flavors! Freshly chopped vegetables and herbs are doused in a ruby-red dressing made with pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard, and lemon juice. It’s a bright and lively recipe you can make and enjoy in 15 minutes!

overhead: a plate full of beet salad made with fresh ingredients

Turkish beet salad is also known as Cevizli Pancar, or “beetroot salad with walnuts” — but it’s so much more than that! 

Sure, there are tender beets and crunchy walnuts in there, but don’t forget about the fresh mint and dill, the smattering of pomegranate seeds, the bites of crisp celery, or the magnificent pomegranate dressing that coats every forkful. 

closeup: my beet salad recipe with fresh herbs

It’s all about how the sour pomegranate molasses, or nar ekşili, plays with the hot mustard, garlic, vinegar, and lemon juice. It’s a well-rounded recipe that’s really par for the course when it comes to Mediterranean cuisine. And that’s what I love so much about it! Check out the video below in the recipe card to see how this is made!

I won’t say beet salad is incredibly filling on its own — you might want to try Turkish white bean salad if you want a full meal — but it makes a great lunch, side dish or appetizer for kabobs, wraps, and grilled chicken.

overhead: ingredinets needed for Turkish beet salad

Tip From Kevin

Champagne Vinegar

Asian rice vinegar is my go-to substitute, as is white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, even though both are a touch harsher. Red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar can work, but they’re going to be less sweet and much more flavorful.

overhead: prepping the beets for Nar Ekşili

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

(Be sure to check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and quantities)

  • Beets – The beets need to be cooked ahead of time. Feel free to do so one or two days in advance to save yourself some time! I prefer to buy them already cooked, Love Beets™ Cooked Beets is the brand I most often find now in most markets vegetable section.
  • Celery If you’d prefer your beet salad recipe without celery, substitute with another veggie that’ll add a similar crunch to the dish — green bell peppers, for example. 
  • Fresh Herbs – Two of my favorite Mediterranean herbs are mint and dill! Some other options include fennel, thyme, and parsley.
  • Pomegranate Arils The pops of moisture and sweetness from the pomegranate seeds are irresistible! You could also use dried cranberries or cherries.
  • Walnuts – Feel free to sub in pecans or another chopped nut of your choosing to add texture to your Turkish beet salad. 
  • Dressing The dressing for this beet salad recipe has an olive oil base, garlic, plenty of lemon juice, and:
    • Pomegranate Molasses (Nar Ekşili) A thick, crimson-colored syrup, nar ekşili is a sour, fruity molasses that isn’t very sweet at all, despite the name. 
    • Dijon Mustard – Dijon can be substituted with any other kind of mustard as needed.
    • Champagne Vinegar – Remember that you can substitute this with rice wine vinegar or balsamic if needed.
    • Sumac Ground, bright red berries with a tangy taste.
overhead: prepared ingredients for Cevizli Pancar in a bowl

How to Make Turkish Beet Salad

  1. Slice the Beets. Cook the beets and allow them to cool. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of your cutting board. Slice the cooked beets into ¼-inch pieces, place in a bowl, and set aside. Toss the parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the Nuts, Herbs, and Celery. Cut the celery stalks diagonally into ¼-inch pieces as well and add to the bowl with the beets. Remove the fresh mint and dill from their stems and discard the stems. Finely chop the herbs and add them to the bowl. Dice the walnuts and add to the bowl as well. 
  3. Make the Dressing. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and combine with a whisk. Taste and adjust ingredients to taste. 
  4. Toss & Chill. Pour the dressing over the beet salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
  5. Serve. Give your cevizli pancar one last toss before serving, and enjoy!
overhead closeup: beet salad on a white plate
  • Cutting Board & Parchment Paper – If you’ve ever worked with beets before, you know that that bright red color has a habit of getting onto everything! Make clean-up easier by laying a piece of parchment paper over your cutting board before slicing them up for your beet salad.

Storing

Leftover cevizli pancar can be refrigerated and enjoyed for up to 3 days. However, if you cooked your beets more than a day ahead of time, the dish won’t stay fresh for as long — keep that in mind for meal-prepping!

extreme closeup: my beet salad recipe with fresh herbs

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to roast or boil beets for salad?


If you want them extremely tender for your beet salad, boil them. This is also quicker and preferred if you want a milder flavor overall.

I recommend roasting if you want to retain some firmness. Roasting also retains more nutrients in the vegetable and yields a stronger flavor!

The quickest way is to purchase them already cooked in the vegetable section of the market!

What else can you add to Turkish beet salad?


Greens! Any greens are fine, but I especially recommend arugula or mixed spring greens. 

Feta and goat’s cheese are also top contenders. They’re very soft, and their salty and tangy flavors add a lot of liveliness to this otherwise sweet salad.

And if you’re really hungry, plopping a spoonful (or several spoonfuls) of hummus on your beet salad makes an outstanding dish full of Mediterranean flavors and textures — and gives you an excuse to break out some warm pita for the meal!

Can you cook and freeze beets to eat later?


Absolutely — these are some of the best vegetables to freeze. Cook them and let cool. Freeze them whole, or sliced into your desired size, for up to 8 months to use in this beet salad recipe, a chopped vegetable salad, or however you like!

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Turkish Beet Salad Recipe

This chilled Turkish beet salad is loaded with sliced beets, walnuts and fresh herbs that get tossed in an easy pomegranate citrus dressing.
Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 8 pre-cooked beets (See Note 1)
  • 4 celery sticks
  • 1/2 oz package fresh mint
  • 1/2 oz package fresh dill
  • 4 oz pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Dressing

Instructions 

  • Lay a piece of parchment paper over your cutting board and slice (or use a crinkle cutter) cooked beets into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside in medium bowl. Discard parchment paper.
  • Slice the celery on the diagonal into 1/4-inch pieces and add to beets. Remove the mint and dill from the stems and chop fine, add to beets. Chop the walnuts into dice and add to beets.
  • In small bowl mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over beet salad, tossing to coat and chill for 30 minutes covered. Toss once more before serving.

Video

Notes

  1. I prefer to buy them already cooked, Love Beets™ Cooked Beets is the brand I most often find now in most markets vegetable section.

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 441mg | Potassium: 741mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 501IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: salads
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): mediterranean beet salad recipe

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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