What could be prettier than a beet and carrot salad? Both have an amazingly beautiful color, especially chioggia beets with their candy cane stripes. Also called “bull’s eye beet”, the great thing about them is that you don’t have to worry about a mess from those mesmerizing pink rings! I always expected them to look a little prettier on the outside too, but they actually have the same unassuming, gnarly, beet-like exterior, though without such an extraordinary deep crimson color.
I brought the leftovers of this salad to work the next day in a Weck jar (my preference over a Mason jar). I had planned to eat it for breakfast (yes, weird as it is, I do salads for breakfast from time to time). You wouldn’t believe how many people asked “what is that?” Chioggia beets are special, and unless you make a trip to the farmers market its unlikely that you will find them in your neighborhood Rewe or Edeka. Then of course, came the remarks, “don’t like them, beets taste like dirt, etc.” I’m astonished, I love beets! But just maybe, they are an acquired taste and it could be that my childhood associations with garden fresh beets in the summer and canned ones in the winter instils a feeling of nostalgia even today.
The last of the curiosities was whether the carrots and beet were pickled. Brilliant, but no. I would love to do that by the way. I just need to make a weekend trip to Bremen to visit my friend Ines’ mother, who is a pickling goddess. She’s pickled about every kind of vegetable on earth. And I so want her homemade sauerkraut recipe too. Then I am going to add turmeric to it, like the do in London. Because they are hip and it is among the superfood top rankers. I better get on that. Ooh, and I am bringing my friend Denise, who loves to cook — she’s also the praline queen. I’ve never met anyone in my life with so much patience for fiddly things like pralines and Christmas cookies, someone who finds baking for an entire day…relaxing. Though, I do have another friend who thinks an entire day spent cleaning the house is like a form of meditation. I will never understand that one.
Yes, over the years, beets have become one of my favorite root vegetables. I have a LOT of favorites.
I’m a fan of beets of all kinds, particularly red beets which are fantastic roasted and by far the most flavorful. Golden beets and the chiogga varieties are milder and definitely easier to work with since they but won’t stain your hands. They are also sweeter which is why they would be my first choice for a raw beet and carrot salad. Which, by the way, reminds me, fresh beet leaves are also edible, so don’t toss them. They can be used in place of hearty greens like kale or Swiss chard, like in this recipe.
If you’ve never tasted the root of a beet in its raw state, I urge you to give it a try. Given that you like beets in the first place, that is. Or maybe not, cooked versus raw actually gives you two very different taste experiences. And of course, you could prepare this salad as a grated or spiralised salad. I used a simple vegetable peeler for the carrots and mandoline for the beets, my little mandoline that is not as scary as the big one with all the attachments. Sharp, sharp, sharp. Use the hand guard! If I actually had one of these fancy spiralizers, I would have done it with that. They make any salad look particularity gorgeous.
PS) I didn’t do this, but I think sweet apple would also be a good addition to this salad. Okay, we could further pimp this beet and carrot salad a hundred and one other ways, so let’s just enjoy it the way it is.
And just a thought here… when we retreat into winter, I think I’ll try doing this with roasted beets and other root vegetables. And maybe roasted hazelnuts and then toss it with some massaged kale leaves. Mmmm more plant power for our winter glow! I’ll let you know how it turns out!
For the salad:
2 carrots, sliced thinly lengthwise into ribbons
2 Chiogga beets, peeled and thinly sliced with a mandoline
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the dressing:
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime (preferably organic)
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1. Add the carrot and beet to a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, soy sauce, honey, zest, lime juice and ginger until well combined.
3. Transfer to a serving platter (or individual plates), sprinkle with the chopped nuts and season with pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
4. This beet and carrot salad can also made ahead while preparing the rest of dinner, as it is fine to just let the flavors meld, just sprinkle with the nuts before serving.