What could be prettier than a beet and carrot salad? Both have an amazingly beautiful color, especially chioggia beets with their candy cane stripes. Also called “bull’s eye beet”, the great thing about them is that you don’t have to worry about a mess from those mesmerizing pink rings! I always expected them to look a little prettier on the outside too, but they actually have the same unassuming, gnarly, beet-like exterior, though without such an extraordinary deep crimson color.
I brought the leftovers of this salad to work the next day in a Weck jar (my preference over a Mason jar). I had planned to eat it for breakfast (yes, weird as it is, I do salads for breakfast from time to time). You wouldn’t believe how many people asked “what is that?” Chioggia beets are special, and unless you make a trip to the farmers market its unlikely that you will find them in your neighborhood Rewe or Edeka. Then of course, came the remarks, “don’t like them, beets taste like dirt, etc.” I’m astonished, I love beets! But just maybe, they are an acquired taste and it could be that my childhood associations with garden fresh beets in the summer and canned ones in the winter instils a feeling of nostalgia even today.
Yes, over the years, beets have become one of my favorite root vegetables. I have a LOT of favorites.
I’m a fan of beets of all kinds, particularly red beets which are fantastic roasted and by far the most flavorful. Golden beets and the chiogga varieties are milder and definitely easier to work with since they but won’t stain your hands. They are also sweeter which is why they would be my first choice for a raw beet and carrot salad. Which, by the way, reminds me, fresh beet leaves are also edible, so don’t toss them. They can be used in place of hearty greens like kale or Swiss chard, like in this recipe.
If you’ve never tasted the root of a beet in its raw state, I urge you to give it a try. Given that you like beets in the first place, that is. Or maybe not, cooked versus raw actually gives you two very different taste experiences. And of course, you could prepare this salad as a grated or spiralised salad. I used a simple vegetable peeler for the carrots and mandoline for the beets, my little mandoline that is not as scary as the big one with all the attachments. Sharp, sharp, sharp. Use the hand guard! If I actually had one of these fancy spiralizers, I would have done it with that. They make any salad look particularity gorgeous.
Asian-Style Chioggia Beet and Carrot Salad
For the salad:
- 2 carrots, sliced thinly lengthwise into ribbons
- 2 Chiogga beets, peeled and thinly sliced with a mandoline
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the dressing:
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime (preferably organic)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
Add the carrot and beet to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, soy sauce, honey, zest, lime juice and ginger until well combined.
Transfer to a serving platter (or individual plates), sprinkle with the chopped nuts and season with pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
This beet and carrot salad can also made ahead while preparing the rest of dinner, as it is fine to just let the flavors meld, just sprinkle with the nuts before serving.
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