07 February 2009

Beet salad of doom.

It's the first time I've eaten beets and enjoyed it.

3 lb beets
1 lb carrots
1/2 lb daikon or red radish
1/2 lb granny smith apples

Peel the beets with a peeler. Grate everything up, either in your food processor, or using a box grater.

Dressing:
Handful of raw soaked almonds
1 TB white miso (optional)
Glass of orange juice, reserved
1 TB lemon or lime juice
Handful of fresh green chiles, stems removed. Omit if you don't like heat.
Salt, to taste
1 TB Rice wine or apple cider vinegar
Knob of ginger

In a blender or food processor, combine the almonds, miso, lemon/lime juice, green chilis, ginger, and vinegar. Grind until the almonds and chiles are chopped up. Then, crank the blender or food processor on full speed, drizzling in the orange juice in a steady stream, until everything is the thickness you want for it to be. Remember that you want this to cling to the vegetables. Then, when it's like you want it, remove it from the blender, and add salt to taste.

Toss the vegetables together with the dressing, and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. The beets will turn everything into a brilliant pink/red, and the flavours will meld together beautifully. You'll get a little sweetness from the orange juice, carrots, and the apples. You get some tartness from the apples and lemon juice. The ginger provides a lovely counterpoint to the hotness of the chiles and the sharpness of the daikon. It's a wonderful salad, even in the cold weather, because the flavours just marry so well together.

You could use peanut butter or any other nuts you have in place of almonds. All it'll do is change the flavour in interesting ways.

Other vegetables you can add (and grate):
Courgettes
Cabbage
Red onions
Scallions
Jicama
Chayote
Mango
Green papaya


If you decide to add some tomato, do so just before serving, so that the tomatoes don't leech out too much water, and make the salad into a mess. Feel free to roll this up into rice wrappers, and make spring rolls. The juicy dressing makes it so that you don't need a dipping sauce. Why not use it to stuff some Romaine lettuce leaves, and eat it like a taco? This would also be a stellar and interesting sushi filling.

If you are allergic to nuts, feel free to use coconut instead. If you don't have a blender or food processor, just do an emulsion with a bit of peanut butter or almond butter or whatever instead. If you don't like orange juice, try pineapple, or mango juice. You just need a little counterpoint to the heaviness of the salad, and the slight sweetness does the job.

In any case, I'm trying to get at the most important thing: There is no excuse not to make this salad. Go make it. If it got me to eat some beets, it's a miracle.