Calling all meal-preppers! A make-ahead salad like this beautiful beet, goat cheese, and spinach dish provides an easy lunch option to eat on throughout the week. By prepping some ingredients in advance—like homemade vinaigrette and spiced pecans—you can stock your cupboard and throw this vibrant salad together quickly.

While potassium-rich beets are a juicy star of Make-Ahead Beet Salad, the hidden gems are homemade spiced pecans. Unlike their high-sugar candied counterparts, these spiced pecans use cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne to bring flavor instead of extra calories, with a little bit of honey to add sweetness. Pecans are a healthy source of protein and are also high in magnesium.

Our Registered Dietitian, Casey Seamon, has also thrown in spinach, which is one of the healthiest vegetables you can have in your diet. Spinach is high in folate, iron, calcium, and Vitamins A, C, E, K, B1, B2, get the point.

We've also opted to make our own balsamic vinaigrette to give our Make-Ahead Beet Salad some acidity. Whipping up a vinaigrette at home is a healthier option; it cuts out the preservatives and shelf-stabilizers that you'd find in a store-bought dressing. While oil and vinegar don't usually want to mix together, we've used stabilizers like honey and Dijon mustard to hold the dressing together.

Make-Ahead Beet Salad

  • 2 cans whole cooked beets
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Spiced pecans
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  1. Drain and rinse beets. Cut into quarters. We used red beets, but try mixing it up with golden or bulls-eye beets for a colorful salad.
  2. Combine beets, balsamic vinaigrette, spiced pecans, goat cheese, and spinach in a mixing bowl and toss well.

Spiced Pecans

  • 8 oz. chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. Heat a sauté pan on medium-high heat on the stove. Add pecans and roast, stirring occasionally, until they become toasty and fragrant.
  2. Combine honey and olive oil in a mixing bowl and stir until incorporated.
  3. Add spices to honey-olive oil mixture.
  4. Add toasted pecans to mixture and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Lay flat on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan and allow to cool completely.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine vinegar, mustard, and honey in a mason jar and fasten lid tightly. Shake vigorously.
  2. Add olive oil. Shake until ingredients are combined.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you decide to serve this beautiful salad at a special event, Casey recommends leaving off the spinach and dressing until you're ready to serve to avoid any wilting leaves.

Looking for a few other fresh recipes to add to your mid-week lunch roster? Try Peach Salad with Grilled Basil or Honey Sesame Chicken Bowls