Crisp, earthy Beet Carpaccio, smothered with rich whipped goat cheese and crunchy caramelized walnuts. It's a dream flavor combination and makes a perfect appetizer!
If you're looking for a dinner party beetroot appetizer, this Beet Carpaccio with goat cheese is perfect. It looks beautiful on the plate due to the vibrant red color of the thin beetroot slices paired with the white whipped goat cheese, and I scatter some rockets/arugula on top to add a flash of green along with the caramelized walnuts.
I like to eat this beet carpaccio salad at any time of year, because of the flavors it can work both in winter and summer which is great as I love it! Beet season is from Spring through to Fall, although they prefer cooler growing conditions so do not do as well in high summer. You can also store late-harvest beets and root vegetables too, and enjoy them well into winter.
If you're in search of salads, here are some others you might like, Caprese salad, Peach Panzanella salad, or keep reading for the recipe for this beetroot carpaccio with whipped goat cheese and caramelized walnuts.
What is Beet Carpaccio?
Beet carpaccio is a dish made with raw thin slices of beetroot, laid on a plate then dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and other seasonings. It is served as an appetizer or side dish and can be garnished with various ingredients such as arugula, goat cheese, walnuts, or balsamic vinegar. The dish draws inspiration from the appearance of the traditional Italian dish carpaccio, which is made with thinly sliced raw beef. Beet carpaccio is a vegetarian and vegan alternative to traditional beef carpaccio. And what's more, it's naturally gluten free.
- Beetroot: a firm beetroot that will be able to hold shape when thinly sliced is ideal for this easy beet appetizer.
- Walnuts: Roasted walnuts add a crunchy texture to this dish. You can substitute walnuts with pecans or almonds.
- Unsalted butter: To adhere the sugar to the nuts we use melted butter which gives delicious flavor as well.
- Granulated sugar: I used sugar to caramelize the walnuts. Brown sugar works best for caramelizing due to the molasses content that gives its own flavor, but you may use white sugar if that's all you have.
- Goat cheese: Goat cheese is softer and tangier and easier to whip compared to regular cheese made with cow’s milk. Use soft Goat cheese without a rind.
- Cream cheese: Let your cream cheese be at room temperature for easier incorporation with the goat cheese. Use as high-quality cream cheese (eg Philadelphia) as you can buy in stores.
- Milk: You don't need a lot of milk, just about a tablespoon to help achieve a smooth consistency in your cream cheese and goat cheese mixture.
- Arugula: a handful of arugula or rocket leaves makes this vegetarian carpaccio look vibrant with red beets and white creamy cheese.
- Walnut oil: this is for the vinaigrette, you can use extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil instead.
- Sherry vinegar: you can substitute sherry vinegar with rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
- Dijon mustard: to thicken the salad dressing, I used Dijon mustard but you can use stone ground mustard. Bear in mind, it has a milder flavor so go easy on it and adjust according to your preference.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for full quantities and directions.
How to make Beet carpaccio with goat cheese?
- Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F.
- Spread the walnuts on a tray and toast in the oven for five minutes until fragrant.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and then stir through the toasted walnuts and sugar until coated.
- Return the walnuts to the oven tray and place them back in the oven for a further five minutes or until the sugar has caramelized around the nuts.
- Remove from the oven, and sprinkle over the salt, making sure the nuts don't all clump together. Be careful, they'll be hot! Allow the walnuts to cool completely.
- Peel and slice your beetroot into thin 2mm rounds, taking care to keep them even. You can use a mandolin slicer if you have one, or a sharp knife.
- Place your goat cheese and cream cheese into a bowl and whisk until smooth and incorporated, adding a tablespoon of milk to slacken it (and more if needed until you reach the desired consistency).
- Make your beet carpaccio dressing by mixing the walnut oil, dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar in a jar and seasoning with salt and pepper until fully combined.
Top tip - use a mini whisk or handheld milk frother to emulsify your salad dressings.
Tips for preparing the beetroot
The key to making beetroot carpaccio is to get the slices as thin and even as possible without losing shape. It will be easier because it's raw and firmer, but here are the steps I use:
- Peel the beetroot using a vegetable peeler and try and even up the shape to get a smooth line
- Place them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill them down.
- Use a knife to carefully cut thin slices, or use a mandoline slicer if you don't feel confident!
Create a beautiful plate as well as a delicious beetroot carpaccio salad! Assemble your salad by spreading the beetroot carpaccio on plates in a circle, spooning some whipped goat cheese into the center, and then placing a handful of rocket leaves/arugula on top. Scatter over some of the caramelized walnuts and then drizzle over some beet carpaccio dressing. Serve and enjoy!
This beet carpaccio with goat cheese can also be adapted to make canapes, served on crostini, or as a snack!
What wine goes well with Beet Carpaccio with goat cheese?
A light Pinot Noir (eg a Burgundy) or a Gamay (Beaujolais) would be a red wine to serve with beet carpaccio and goat cheese. Alternatively, a crisp and acidic Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley. Or for a sparkling option, try a Brut Cremant de Loire with nutty notes that will complement the walnuts.
Substitutions and variations
Here are a few ways to change up this recipe to suit you.
- Nuts - you could try using pecans instead of walnuts if you prefer
- Cheese - use feta or burrata instead to change this up!
- Herbs - try adding some fresh mint to the vinaigrette dressing to add extra freshness.
- Canape - serve the beetroot carpaccio and whipped goat cheese on a crostini and top with the caramelized walnuts to make this into a classy canape for dinner parties.
- Vegan - Make it vegan carpaccio by using Dairy-free sour cream or plant-based cheese
You will need an oven tray, mixing bowl, and electric hand whisk or food processor for this beetroot carpaccio recipe.
Store all the components separately in the fridge and assemble them as needed. Consume leftovers within 2-3 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
Fun Tip: the caramelized walnuts make a great snack by themselves, so make extra and keep them in Tupperware for when you feel like some of that sweet crunch.
Commonly asked questions
Yes, you can, although you may encounter difficulty with getting thin slices from the cooked beetroot. If this happens, try to chill the beet in the freezer for a few minutes before attempting to slice it.
You can get away with preparing this a few days ahead of time. You will have to store the sliced beets and each component separately in the fridge and then assemble your salad on the day you need it.
More starters to try
Beetroot carpaccio with whipped goat cheese and caramelised walnuts
- Oven tray
- 6 beetroot
- 150 grams walnuts
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 375 grams goat cheese
- 30 grams cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 75 grams arugula
- 3 tablespoon walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F
- Spread the walnuts on a tray and toast in the oven for five minutes until fragrant
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and then stir through the toasted walnuts and sugar.
- Return the toasted nuts, butter, and sugar mixture to the oven tray and place back in the oven for a further five minutes or until the sugar has caramelized around the nuts.
- Remove from the oven, and sprinkle over the salt, making sure the nuts don't all clump together. Be careful, they'll be hot! Allow the caramelized nuts to cool completely.
- Peel and slice your beetroot into thin 2mm rounds, taking care to keep them even. It can help to place them in the freeze for 20 minutes first.
- Place your goat cheese and cream cheese into a bowl and whisk until smooth and incorporated, adding a tablespoon of milk to slacken it or more if needed.
- Make your dressing by mixing the walnut oil, dijon mustard and sherry vinegar in a jar and seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Assemble your salad by spreading the beetroot carpaccio on plates in a circle, spooning some whipped goat cheese into the centre and then placing a handful of rocket leaves/arugula on top. Scatter over some of the caramelised walnuts then drizzle over some dressing. Serve and enjoy!
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