Refreshing and lively, this is the perfect summer starter
As the weather grows warmer, we need something to tease our appetites. Something like this simple-to-make (and delightful-to-eat) summer salad.
It’s got great color, and better flavor. And it’s a wonderful way to use all the locally grown beets that show up in markets this time of year.
Can’t beat that.
Recipe: Beet and Red Onion Salad
For this dish, you need to cook the beets first, then let them cool before making the salad. We like to oven-roast (actually, oven-steam) the beets, but in the Notes we provide instructions for boiling if that’s your preference. We recommend buying bunches that contain beets of roughly equal size – that way their cooking time is more even.
We like to put this dish together right before serving. But you could mix it up an hour ahead, if you wish, and refrigerate it.
Prepping and cooking the beets takes around 45 minutes. But once they’re ready to go, you can make this dish in about 10 minutes.
This recipe serves 4 as a starter.
- 1 bunch of beets (1 to 1½ pounds with greens removed)
- 1 medium red onion
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar or lemon juice
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (about half a dozen grinds for us)
- ~2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish (or to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the leaves off the beets, leaving an inch or so of stalk attached. Do not cut the root ends. Scrub the beets, then wrap each one in foil. Place the beets in the oven and cook until they’re just tender – 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets (usually about 40 minutes). When done, unwrap the beets and allow them to cool.
- Peel the beets, then remove the remaining stalk and roots. Cut the beets into dice of about ½ inch, or slice them thinly. Place the diced beets in a mixing bowl. (You can do this step an hour ahead, and refrigerate the beets until ready to continue with the salad.)
- Peel the onion, then cut it into thin slices. Add the onion slices to the beets. Add the olive oil, then toss the ingredients together to coat them.
- Add the vinegar or lemon juice, and toss again. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Wash the parsley, spin it dry, then chop it. Mix the chopped parsley with the beets and onions.
- Serve and enjoy.
- If you prefer to cook the beets on the stovetop, here’s how: Cut the leaves off the beets (leaving an inch of stalk attached). Do not cut off the root ends. Wash the beets, then add them to a cooking pot filled with cold water. Place the pot on the stovetop, then bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook the beets until they become tender – 30 minutes or so. Drain the beets in a colander (you might want to reserve the cooking water for soup). Rinse the cooked beets under cold water to cool.
- You can add a clove or two of minced garlic to the beets for extra flavor.
- Want even more flavor? Add ½ teaspoon of ground cumin.
- For yet more flavor, you can substitute fresh mint for the parsley.
- If you’d like a more substantial salad, add some crumbled goat cheese or feta to the mixing bowl (we’d suggest a handful or two).
- You could also try adding some cooked chickpeas (we haven’t tried that yet, but it sounds good).
- We use kosher salt for cooking. Kosher salt is less salty by volume than regular table salt (its large crystals don’t pack as densely). If using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest.
- But, as always, adjust the salt (and black pepper) to your own taste.
- Beets usually are sold with their greens. If the beets are young, you can use the greens raw in a salad. Otherwise, cook them as you would spinach or other greens.
- BTW, the color in beets doesn’t break down in your digestive system. So they can tinge your urine and stool. Just so you know.
- Outside North America, beets are usually called “beetroot.”
“Love the flavor of beets,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “They taste like the earth.”
“Yup, root veggies,” I said. “They’re down and dirt-y!”
“You soiled your reputation with that comment,” said Mrs K R.
“Just trying to root out the facts,” I said. “But don’t forget, beet greens are great too.”
“Indeed, we should serve beets on a bed of their own greens,” said Mrs K R. “And have beets around the bush.”
“I could have you charged with spousal pun-dangerment for that comment,” I said.
“I’d just ply the jury with this delicious salad,” said Mrs K R. “And they’d root for acquittal.”
True. She’d wrap the beet.
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Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Mint
Chilled Beet and Cucumber Soup
Beet and Fennel Soup
Italian Celery and Mushroom Salad
Cucumber and Smoked-Salmon Salad with Feta
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