Gardening,  Recipes,  Salad

Beet Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit-Thyme Vinaigrette plus our Summer Garden 2015

Beet and Avocado Salad
Beet and Avocado Salad

It’s almost summer! That means it’s garden-planting-time around here. This year we started around the first week of May which is about a month later than we usually plant. I decided to delay for a couple of reasons. First, in mid-April my mother and I spent a week split between Hong Kong and Shanghai; it was a great trip and the food was amazing but I came home exhausted. Second, the last few years, all the tomatoes I’ve planted seem to come ripe at the same time in July, and by August (still full summer) there aren’t any left! Last year we were gone for two weeks in July and came home to 50 lbs of tomatoes. This year we’ll be going to Italy for two weeks, also in July (an early 20th anniversary trip), and I didn’t want the same to happen.

The garden feels a bit sparse this year, but I think it should be more than enough for the two of us. It looks pretty much like every other year (there are garden posts here going back to 2009) but one of these days we’re going to take out the raised beds and start over.


This is what I planted:

  • 6 different tomatoes including both Heirlooms and Hybrids (Brandywine, Celebrity, Champion, Yellow Boy, Mortgage Lifter)
  • 6 basil, 1 sage, 1 thyme, 1 oregano, and 1 purple basil
  • 1 pickling cucumber
  • 1 regular cucumber
  • 2 globe eggplant
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 6 Blue Lake green beans
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 green zucchini

Have you planted a summer garden this year? If so, what did you plant?

Beet Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit-Thyme Vinaigrette

As it warms outside, I find myself craving food that is light, cool, and easy to put together. This salad is especially quick if you buy those pre-roasted beets in packets often sold in the market’s salad section (both Costco and Trader Joe’s sells these). If you’d like to roast your own, go here for instructions. Beets seem to straddle the season between spring and summer, working as well in hot dishes as they do in cold. And avocados? When is avocado not welcome at any meal, am I right?


Beet Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit Thyme Vinaigrette

Beet Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit-Thyme Vinaigrette
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Avocadoes, Beets, salad
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1 pound roasted beets sliced thin
  • 2 ounces red onion sliced thin
  • 2 each avocadoes diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut the roasted beets in half and then thinly slice into half rounds.
  • Cut a red onion in half and thinly slice 2 oz into strips.
  • Cut the avocadoes in half, remove the pits, scoop out the half with a spoon and dice.
  • Chop the herbs but keep separate.
  • For the dressing, whisk together the grapefruit juice, vinegar and olive oil. whisk in half the thyme and add the salt and pepper.
  • Place the beets, red onion and avocado in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette, the parsley and the rest of the thyme. Gently combine with a spoon. Serve immediately.


If you'd like to prepare in advance, keep the beets and the vinaigrette separate until just before serving or the beets may turn everything pink.




  • Lynn

    I’ve never been a huge fan of beets, but this would work well in my quest to eat cleaner. Looks delish … and anything with avocado DOES win!

  • Susan De Masi

    This year I decided to stop battling the gophers-everything went into galvanized water troughs and I am delighted with the results. Water stays where it should be, and my plants are all raised to a comfortable height-my back is so grateful! And weeding the vegetable patch is a bygone chore!

    I know what you mean about all the tomatoes getting ripe at the same time, I spend hours canning tomatoes and salsa, next year I MUST stagger my plantings.

    I planted cucumbers (pickling and regular), zucchini (already bombarding the neighbors!), swiss chard, tomatoes (I somehow ended up with fifteen of the little suckers), radishes, peppers (hot and mild) and I threw in a couple of corn seeds just to watch it grow.

    Strawberries are going well, but blackberries, boysenberries, and my stone fruits all got confused by our erratic weather and didn’t do much. The avocado tree, however, loved the lack of winter, so the neighbors get to have guacamole with their zucchini.

    • formerchef

      I’ve never had luck with staggering plantings but maybe it’s because I’m not paying attention to 1)the size of the plant when it goes into the ground and 2) the number of days to ripe fruit. Hmmmm…if I were a more logical gardener, I might be more successful!

  • Karen

    Looks good and can’t wait to try this! I have arugula coming up like crazy right now, so I think I will try this salad on top of arugula and mix in some sliced grapefruit! Your garden looks great! Thanks for the inspiration :=)

  • Kathie Roe

    This salad looks and sounds sooooo good! I can hardly wait to make this for our dinner one night as soon as the garden grows. 🙂 Thank you so much for making my taste buds tingle.

  • Barbara Israel

    I adore beets, and this salad looks wonderful! Later this summer I’ll try it with my own garden beets. Can’t wait!
    I planted six tomato plants: two Viva Italia, one Margherita (a long, slim, prolific paste/saladette tomato), one Carmello (a wonderful tasting 8-10 oz. French tomato the skins of which came off without plunging in hot water), one Big Boy (at my son’s request) and one Juliet (a firm, large grape tomato). I am anticipating making your Basic Marinara Sauce with the paste tomatoes! Also, my husband and sons (17 & 21) will eat as much fresh salsa as I can produce. They nag me until August when we finally get enough tomatoes to do it! Hoping for a good tomato season weatherwise.

    Additionally, I planted a few golden beets, red beets, Swiss chard, Scarlet Nantes carrots, flagpole green onions, one Serrano pepper, one jalepeno pepper and one cowhorn hot pepper (my son wanted it!) two Burpee bush cucumber plants, flat leaf parsley, basil, rosemary (mine always freezes out here in Idaho and I, sadly, overwatered the one I potted and brought in last winter) and a long row of heirloom slenderette bush green beans. I have perennial sage, oregano thyme, tarragon and chives. We also have quite a few wonderful-tasting raspberry plants from which I make fresh raspberry pies with a shortbread crust.

    It’s not as big a garden as it sounds. I have a nice long raised box with paver walls. I use the space well. Thanks for your beautiful site and great recipes! Enjoy your trip to Italy! 🙂

    • formerchef

      Barbara- Your garden sounds fabulous! I’ll be interested to hear how the beets come out because I thought they needed cold weather to get enough sugars in them to taste good. I didn’t know you could grow them in summer. I just picked 3 big zucchini this morning! No tomatoes ready yet…

  • Barbara

    Last summer’s beets were really good, especially the golden ones. I never get out to plant things in the spring; it always seems so cold! (Our average date of last frost is May 12, too.) B

  • Dash66

    I will have to try this recipe in about 2 weeks when my first crop of beets come in. I need to find as many recipes as possible for them as I have a bunch of beets planted.

    This will be my third year planting in my community garden plot and as long as the groundhogs and rabbits stay out, I should have a wide variety of veggies to can, freeze, and most importantly, eat fresh. This year I have 6 cherry tomato plants (I prefer them to candy), 6 large slicing tomatoes for sandwiches, burgers and salads, and 6 sauce tomatoes to make your maranara recipe to have all winter.

    In addition to tomatoes, I’ve planted 6 sweet peppers, and 6 spicy peppers ranging from poblanos all the way up to ghost peppers.

    I finished filling up my plot with beets, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, kholrabi, onions, garlic, buttercup squash, pie pumpkins and strawberries. Thankfully my local food bank will take all my excess produce, as I’m sure to have a lot left over, even after I give them away to family and friends.

  • Gail Knight

    I love red beet and I especially love the mixture of red beet and avocado! The salad looks gorgeous and the recipe is nice and simple! I’ll try it out this weekend as the family gathers for dinner then. I love your summer garden! Mine was also very nice but now it is at the end of it’s strength. Now we are preparing for planting lettuce and broccoli for autumn gardening! Thank you for sharing! Have a great autumn months! Greetings!

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