Summer is just around the corner here in New Zealand so we're slowly moving away from warm nourishing soups to fresh zingy salads. Today's deliciously crunchy Raw Beetroot Salad is the perfect example of just that. It's also another great option for those mid-week nights when you arrive home frazzled from work, race to the fridge to grab whatever you can get your hands on, or else dash to the phone to order your nearest take-out.
I started this series of quick and easy mid-week dinners a few weeks back, with this yummy Pesto Potato Salad with green beans, chickpeas and capers. From the sounds of things you guys loved it, so here's another goodie to add to your arsenal. I'm hoping it will inspire you to incorporate more healthy plant-based meals in your weekly routine, and reap the taste and health benefits, as well as reducing our collective impact on animals and our planet.
I've been making versions of this lovely salad for almost ten years now (!), as it tastes amazing, is easy, really affordable, and there are a tonne of variations you can try. The key ingredients are beetroot and carrots, which have a natural sweetness to them and a delicious sprightly crunch. Add to that juicy raisins, crunchy seeds (dried and activated if you have them, otherwise lightly toasted), tangy red onion, fresh mint, and top it all off with the most delicious orange and balsamic dressing, which you'll no doubt want to make double of to use on everything else too. 15 minutes down and you've got the perfect combo of textures and tastes.
This salad pairs brilliantly on the side of any main you've got in store. Pan fried tempeh or tofu, quinoa, grilled vege patties or fritters, or a homemade lasagne or vegetable bake all work wonderfully. We had it the other night on top of a bed of baby spinach with some tofu fried rice, and it was so delicious having one half of the plate being warm and flavoursome rice while the other half was crunchy cold and fresh salad!
Other things that are awesome about this salad - it travels well, lasts for ages in the fridge (I've gone 6 days before), and almost tastes even better on day two once the flavours have all absorbed. It's also the perfect dish to take to a pot luck or dinner, and you can feel good knowing you're adding some delicious plant-based health to whatever else is for the taking. If you're planning on having it the next day, just omit the mint and add that just before serving to keep it nice and fresh and green.
Better Beats with Beets
So how about those beets then? Beetroot are an awesome vegetable to include in your diet, as they're super affordable, taste great, don't go off in the fridge (yus), and have a bunch of nutritional benefits. In particular, they're one of a select group of vegetables that contain nitrates, which research has shown to strengthen the heart, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, lower the risk of dementia, reduce inflammation and even improve performance in athletes (if that's you!). Traditionally beets have been used to improve circulation, purify the blood and detoxify the liver too. So if you know someone who's got hypertension or high blood pressure, heart disease, an age related degenerative disease (like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's), poor peripheral circulation, or type 2 diabetes, then beets, especially in their raw form like this salad, are a great thing to get into their life!
As I mentioned, this salad is super forgiving, with a tonne of different variations you can try. Here are some of my favs (so if you don't have everything in the original recipe in your cupboard right now, you'll no doubt have at least some of the below!):
So there you have it, another quick and easy mid-week plant-based meal, with loads of variations to play with. I hope you'll give it a whirl, and that it becomes a regular in your weekly repertoire. If you make this lovely salad I'd love to share your recreations on my Instagram, so tag your pics @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics so I can come find your beauties.
It's a long weekend here in NZ and we've snuck over to Waiheke again, so time for me to sign off and enjoy some of that sun! Hope you have an amazing weekend.
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c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
*Dried and activated if you have them, otherwise lightly toast as per the instructions below.