I hate the flavor of beets, but I find the idea of beets romantic because of their rusticness. OK, rusticness is not a word, but I see them at farmer's markets all scruffy and dirty, and I just know they must be good for me. Not only that, but their deep purple-red flesh is like a beautiful siren calling to me. I inevitably follow the call and end up shipwrecked on the rocky beach called, "Wow. That is one big mouthful of dirt! Who eats this stuff?" And let's not even discuss the vile pickled beets that my husband loves on his salad. Why, just why? But no one will ever accuse me of being a quitter, unfortunately. So I keep buying beets knowing that through sheer perseverance, I will beat them into submission (pun intended). There is one common ingredient that you will find in most beet recipes - sugar. And with good reason. Beets have a very earthy flavor, and it takes more than a little something to balance that out. I try to stay away from adding sugar to my recipes, which is why my battle with beets has lasted for so long. I finally relented and used pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Beets grow underground, and syrup comes from a tree, so I figure I'm not losing any of that fruits-of-the-forest vibe. It's a lie I tell myself to be at peace with my compromise. Fortunately, a little maple syrup goes a long way, and this salad still has the natural earthy flavor of the beets, but with a hint of sweetness.
I wanted a Mediterranean feel for this recipe, so I paired the beet salad with a cannellini bean hummus. Cannellini beans are soft, so it's easy to get a creamy texture. The salad and the hummus are a perfect match and are readily complimented with pita bread or pita chips. Hey, naan would even be great if you really want fusion!
For someone who does not care for beets, I am very pleased with this salad. My husband, who is a fan of beets, absolutely loved it.
- 3 beets (medium)
- 1 red onion (large)
- 1 yellow tomato (medium)
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tbs. balsamic reduction (store bought and usually in the vinegar section)
- 3 tbs. maple syrup (pure)
- 29 oz. cannellini beans (canned)
- 1/4 tsp. garlic puréed
- 2 tbs. lemon juice
- 3 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C.
- Individually wrap each beet in tin foil and place on baking sheet. Bake for 40-70 minutes depending on the size of the beets. The beets should be soft when done. Allow beets to cool.
- Thinly slice the onion and soak it in vinegar overnight.
- Peel the beats with a spoon and cut into quarter-inch pieces.
- Drain the vinegar from the onions and add the onions to the beats.
- Dice the tomato into quarter-inch pieces and add to the beet mixture.
- Drain and rinse the beans, place them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer the beans for 10 minutes.
- Drain the beans and add them to a blender with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and vinegar. Purée them until they are smooth and creamy.
- Serve with naan, pita bread, or pita chips.
The beet salad is best when it is 2-3 days old, which means you can make it ahead of time.This will allow the flavors to develop, and the beets to sweeten up a bit. The cannellini hummus is so easy to make that I recommend making it the same day so that it is fresh and warm when you serve it.