Randi Baird

One day I realized while harvesting my garden that the sweet, citrusy acidity of fresh strawberries is the perfect foil for the earthy nuances of beets—and that both go well with maple and balsamic. The cool flavors of arugula and goat cheese add the perfect contrast. Tossing a small amount of a cooked grain like wheatberries or farro makes this a hearty salad, but don’t overwhelm it with too much grain. This recipe originally appeared in Simple Green Suppers (Roost Books, 2017) by Susie Middleton. In late summer, I use plums or peaches in place of the strawberries.

Susie Middleton

Update, May 2023: Recently I made a variation (top photo) of this salad using some beautiful red mizuna I found at Whippoorwill farm stand and some of my first new mint from the garden. Instead of adding a grain, I added roasted chickpeas. And I tweaked the dressing just a bit. Scroll down to the end for the variation notes!

Serves 4


  • 1 pound (6 to 8 small/medium) beets (roots only, any color, unpeeled)
  • 5 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar (or a combination of red balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons diced fresh strawberries, plus 8 to 10 strawberries, cored and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 1½ cups cooked wheat berries or other sturdy grain
  • 4 cups baby or small arugula leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted pistachios or toasted sliced almonds  
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese (crumbled while still cold)
  • 1 tablespoon small mint leaves or slivered mint (optional)


1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Line two heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, trim the ends of the beet roots and then slice each beet crosswise into rounds between 1/8- and ¼ inch-thick. (Don’t use a mandolin, which would cut them too thinly). If the beets wobble around, cut a thin piece off the bottom to stabilize.

3. If you have both red and yellow beets, put them in separate bowls. Toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Spread the beets in one layer (preferably keeping the red and yellow beets separate) on the sheet pans and roast, flipping with a spatula once or twice (and rotating the pans in the oven), until tender, glistening, and shrunken, 16 to 18 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, the maple syrup, the lemon juice, and a big pinch of salt. Stir in the 3 tablespoons diced strawberries.

5. Put the wheat berries into a mixing bowl and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the dressing and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes.

6. Have ready four large dinner plate or one large shallow platter. Divide the arugula evenly and scatter it across your serving dishes. (Hold a few leaves back.) Sprinkle it with a big pinch of salt and drizzle it with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.

7. Arrange or scatter the roasted beets, the strawberry slices, and the wheat berries over the arugula.  Drizzle with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle goat cheese, nuts, remaining arugula leaves, and optional mint leaves over all and serve right away. 


Susie Middleton


Variation, May 2023


1. Instead of all arugula, use a mix of spring greens. I used a generous amount of red mizuna (Ruby Streaks variety) I found at Whippoorwill farm stand along with arugula and mixed lettuces.

2. Replace the grains with roasted chickpeas.

3. For the dressing, instead of 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar, use 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar plus 2 teaspoons orange juice and ¼ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest. Reduce maple syrup from 1 tablespoon to 2 teaspoons. Keep the lemon juice amount the same.