As the days get warmer, we want to spend less time in the kitchen. That is unless you like being in the kitchen as much as I do. Regardless of time spent in the kitchen, this is a remarkably cooling salad. Without too much effort, you can have this refreshing crisp salad – make lots so you can have it again the next day. It will keep, as long as you don’t dress the herbs.
The most interesting part of this salad – no lettuce – of any kind! It’s an adaptation of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Beet Salad. I used beet greens (my beets come with greens – no extra charge ), cilantro leaves, watercress leaves, dill leaves and parsley in this salad. The star ingredient of this salad though is those beautiful shiny red raw beets. The sharpness of the beets is nicely offset by the simple vinaigrette. I also like this salad because it got me used to making toppings as an add on. So simple, so delicious and takes no time at all to get ready.
Toppings are wonderful additions to anything – most of all, a salad! Look for the “Substitutions and Alterations” recipe below. Keep the beets separately from the leaves and they will keep. You can marinate the beets in the dressing and leave them, by doing this, you really don’t need additional dressing – unless you want it. And then, keep it simple – extra virgin olive oil, lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. As always – enjoy!
- 1 – 3 raw beets, washed and julienned
- Beet leaves, washed, dried and cut or torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- ½ cup dill leaves
- 1 cup watercress leaves
- Lemon or lime juice – about ½ of either
- Extra virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine about ¼ – ½ cup olive oil, add the juice and whisk, add the salt and pepper, whisk – taste, re-season with additional salt, pepper, juice – as needed – taste again – set aside
In a large bowl filled half way up with cold water, place the cilantro leaves, dill leaves, watercress leaves and beet leaves – swish around to get all the grit out
Remove the leaves from the water and using a salad spinner or two clean towels, dry the leaves completely – set aside. Salad spinners really do work best and a good one is only about $10 on sale – check your local grocery store’s housewares section
Cut the tops and bottom of the beet, peel and slice thinly
Stack 3-5 slices, and cut through them – also thinly – it’s called julienne and you can google it if you want to get really good at it, I’ve also cubed the beets in a small dice on other occasions – equally delicious, great presentation on the plate
Toss the beets in the dressing
Take a generous helping of salad on your plate and top with the dressed beets (and if you like a tbsp. or two of additional dressing)
Optional – sprinkle the topping (suggestions below) onto your salad and enjoy!
Substitutions and Alterations:
- Make a topping for your salad – combine your favorite seeds and nuts into a small dry frying pan – sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, walnuts etc. Toast on medium high shaking pan or stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture starts to toast and release their oils, empty the pan into a small container – this is important or the mixture will continue to cook and burn in the pan – while still warm, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Pictured below – black sesame seeds, almonds and pumpkin seeds – yum!
- Substitute or add other herbs you like – basil, sage, rosemary, mint, oregano – note some of these can be quite overpowering in taste – rosemary as an example, so taste it before you add it in – always start with less then add more if needed
- Use colored beets or cooled cooked beets, cut anyway you like
- Serve the salad with some fish or chicken, or keep it vegetarian by heaping it onto a grilled cauliflower steak