I love beets.
I love their color, I love their shape, I love that they store so well and last forever, I love their taste, and I even love their greens. I make amazing vegetarian patties with beet greens.
Here in NC, we can grow beets twice a year; in the spring and in the fall. I sprinkle the seeds around and as they grow I thin the plants and use the young greens I pulled for the patties or in salads.
When the beets are ready for harvest we usually use the roots for beet salads (there are many kinds of salads other than the one I’ll share with you here), and the greens and stems are used in the patties or as cooked greens.
Beets are very low in calories, they contain no cholesterol, and are very rich in vitamin C, iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and fiber. They are so healthy, however, they do contain the highest sugar content of all vegetables, which is probably the reason they are so darn tasty!
Here is how we make a healthy beet salad with onion and cilantro (also fresh from the garden hopefully)…
We started with a small colander full of beets. Some were small, some were big but there was probably the equivalent to three or four very large beets from the supermarket.
Note, when I say we I mean my parents. They were here for a visit from Israel and were making us beet salad, I was just taking pictures which I believe is how every meal should be done!
Anyway, the first order here is to soften the beets. You can either steam them or throw them in a pot of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat to keep a rolling boil, and let them hang out in the pot until they are soft which will take awhile (maybe 40 minutes or so…).
We don’t peel the beets but we do remove the greens obviously and wash them really well. If there are really big ones we cut them in half or quarter them to speed up the process.
To check if the beets are soft you can simply stick a fork in them like you would do with a potato. I like mine still a bit firm.
Once they are done, scoop them out of the pot and wash in cold water to cool them down.
Next you need to clean and peel the beets. Once they are soft, they peel very easily. My dad likes to do this with a knife like you see in the picture above. I usually use a potato peeler.
Once they are clean and cool you are ready for the next step.
Note that you can use the water you boiled the beets in as a natural dye if you want.
Next, chop your beets however you want…
Grab a big bunch of cilantro…
Cut the stems off and chop…
Next, chop a very small onion (just a bit bigger than a shallot or half of a medium-small onion). You can dice it or slice it into thin slices. Up to you.
Add the onion, cilantro, and beets to a bowl…
To season, add one tablespoon of canola oil, two tablespoons of vinegar, half a teaspoon of cumin, and salt and black pepper to taste. Give it all a big mix, taste, and fix the seasoning if you feel that you need to add salt or something like that.
Sometimes my mother adds a clove of minced garlic as well but that is optional.
Of course you can serve it right away but this is one of those salads that is even better the next day. It’s a really good salad for entertaining because you can make it ahead and store it in the fridge until the party.
Here is the handy printable…