Smoked Beet Salad with Smoky Raisin Vinaigrette

Smoked Beet Salad with Smoky Raisin Vinaigrette

Learn more about the inspiration behind Steve Nestor’s Beet Salad.


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Smoked Beet Salad with Smoky Raisin Vinaigrette

Recipe Notes

  • Active Prep: 20 minutes
  • Grill Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Method: Indirect grilling
  • Equipment: Charcoal grill or smoker; Hardwood chunks or chips (if using the latter, soak in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drain); a vegetable grid or aluminum foil


For Smoking:

  • 3 to 4 red beets (2 inches in diameter), trimmed and peeled
  • 3 to 4 yellow beets (2 inches in diameter), trimmed and peeled
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and skewered on a toothpick
  • ½ cup golden raisins or dark raisins
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing, plus ½ cup for the vinaigrette
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 strips pancetta or bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slivers (optional)

To Finish the Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons warm water
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

To Finish the Salad:

  • 1 large bunch arugula, washed and spun dry
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup rough chopped walnuts
  • 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Recipe Steps

1: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium-high.

2: Meanwhile, lightly brush the beets, shallot, and garlic with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.   Place on the grilling grid or on a sheet of folded aluminum foil positioned in the center of the grill over the drip pan.   Add the wood to the coals.   If working on a gas grill, add the wood to the smoker box or use a foil smoking pouch.

3: Indirect grill the veggies until bronzed with smoke and tender, about 10 minutes for the raisins, 20 minutes for the shallot and garlic, and 45 to 60 minutes for the beets. Test for doneness with a slender skewer—it should pierce the flesh easily.   Transfer the veggies to a sheet pan to cool slightly. Un-skewer the garlic.

4: Meanwhile, brown and crisp the pancetta or bacon, if using, in a skillet over medium-high heat (or direct grill). Drain in a strainer.   

5: Make the vinaigrette: Chop the shallot, garlic, and raisins in a food processor. Work in the vinegar, water, and olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste: the vinaigrette should be highly seasoned.

6: Assemble the salad: Peel the beets and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Place in a salad bowl and stir in some of the vinaigrette. The warm beets will absorb the vinaigrette as they cool.

7: Add the arugula, cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese, and pancetta, if using.Add more vinaigrette and gently toss to mix. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.