The classic beet and carrot salad is made even tastier with chopped walnuts and parsley. It brightens everyday meals and dresses up holiday fare.
This compatible duo of vegetables — beets and carrots — are so “grate” in this simple salad. Two such flavorful veggies need only light embellishment. Just a little added sweetness and the tartness of lemon brings out their flavors.
Vary it with golden beets: I’m surprised I don’t see golden beets more often, because they’re even sweeter and more delicious than red beets. If you see them, grab some! They’re wonderful in this salad.
Less common but worth looking for are chiogga beets (an Italian heirloom variety with red-and-white stripes). Look for these less common varieties at summer and fall farm markets.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Susan Voisin, FatFreeVegan.com
A few tips on cooking beets
Cooking beets in the microwave
Microwaving is the easiest and quickest way to cook beets. Rinse the beets and place beets in a deep microwave-safe container with a little water at the bottom — not more than a half inch or so deep. Cover and microwave for 2 to 4 minutes per beet (2 minutes for small beets, 3 for medium, 4 for large).
For the recipe above, err on the side of less cooking, because you want them to be only about half done and retain a bit of crunch for this particular salad.
This is a general guideline; best to start with less time and check for doneness, then add a minute or so.They’re done when you can just pierce them—and when cooking beets, try not to overcook.
Cooking beets on the stovetop
It’s best to use beets that aren’t too large if you want to cook them on the stovetop — otherwise, it takes quite a long time. Rinse beets and cut away all but an inch of the stalks.
Place in a large deep saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until just tender. How long this will take depends on the size of the beets. Check after 15 minutes, but don’t poke too many test holes into them, or they’ll bleed too much! Drain and let cool when done.
Finishing up the process
Whether you’ve microwaved or cooked beets, once just tender, plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them over the trash or compost container, then and dice or slice as desired. To prevent discoloration of your cutting board, you can cover it with a piece of wax paper.
Roasting beets are delicious, but the prep makes a bit of a mess, since it’s best to peel and slice or dice them while raw. That said, if you partially microwave or cook them ahead of time following the directions above, peeling and chopping will be easier.
Using beets raw
If you have a good knife and don’t mind having your hands died red for a while, simply peel beets and cut into thin pieces or grate for adding to salads. Or, peel beets and cut into chunks for juicing.
- 4 medium beets (see note)
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 celery stalks, peeled and diced
- 2 shallots, minced, optional
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- Several mint leaves, sliced, as desired to taste
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, to taste
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- Pinch of salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cook or microwave the beets until about half done (see more info following the recipe box) —you should be able to pierce them with resistance. When cool enough to handle, cut into chunks.
- Grate the beets and carrots using the grating blade of a food processor.
- Combine with the remaining ingredients in a serving bowl and stir together. Serve at once or cover and store in the refrigerator until serving.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 113Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 114mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g
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