Summer’s on its way out, I know. But I still need to make sure in I get your veggie quota right?
This deliciously crunchy, salty, sweet salad is the perfect way how!
I’ve been making this little get-up for a few years now, and it’s still as good as way back then.
It’s also a great option for those mid-week nights when you arrive home frazzled from work, racing to the fridge to grab whatever you can get your hands on. Pop it on the side of a veggie lasagne or simply pile it up on a heap of greens, and add a handful of chickpeas or avo to flesh it out.
One of my goals this year is to empower you with even more quick and easy plant-based dinner ideas. On social media, it’s always the sweet treats that go wild. Yet when I actually meet people in person (which I’ve been doing a lot recently in my workshops), the recipes that always get asked for, are quick and easy vegan dinners!
So here you go – I’ve got your veggie back.
And because I couldn’t leave you educationally-empty-handed, I’ve included a wee nutritional section on the heart-pumping benefits of beetroot too.
Did I mention we made another VIDEO for it too? I hope you love it!
Let’s hit those beets…
I’ve been making versions of this salad for almost ten years now, as it tastes amazing, is super easy, really affordable, and there are tonnes of variations you can try. The key ingredients are beetroot and carrots, which have a natural sweetness to them, and a delicious sprightly ccccc…..runch. Add to that juicy raisins, crunchy seeds (dried and activated if you have them, otherwise lightly toasted is great), tangy red onion, fresh mint, and top it all off with a sweet and salty orange and balsamic dressing, and 15 minutes later you’ve got yourself a rainbow pile of goodness.
The other thing I love about this salad is it travels well, lasts for ages in the fridge, and almost tastes better on day two once the flavours have absorbed. It’s also the ideal dish to take to a pot luck or dinner, that even the omnis will love. If you’re planning on having it the next day, simply omit the mint and add that just before serving, to keep it nice 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, 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!):
- Red Onion – swap for sliced spring onion.
- Raisins – exchange for sultanas, currants, sliced dried figs, or freshly sliced apple or pear (add these at the last moment so they don’t go brown).
- Mint – switch for coriander/cilantro.
- Seeds – either just use pumpkin or sunflower, swap one for sesame, or swap the lot for toasted walnuts (yum!). Walnuts are high in omega 3 essential fatty acids as are pumpkin seeds, so it’s a great idea to include at least one of these.
- Dressing – switch to a lemon dressing, by swapping the orange and balsamic to lemon and apple cider vinegar respectively. I also love adding a drop of a high-quality therapeutic food grade essential oil to my dressing such as wild orange or lemon, to really vamp up the flavour to the next level – incredible (you can learn more about essential oils, how to use them safely and effectively for your health, by watching by online workshop here).
- Oils – I love to use a combo of olive oil and omega 3 oils in my dressings, as it gives you the classic flavour from the olive oil, as well as the skin, hair and cellular health benefits of omega 3s. This helps to balance your ratio of omega 6 to 3 essential fatty acids, the former of which we are normally too high in. If you don’t yet have a bottle of omega 3 oil in your fridge (this chia seed and sacha inchi oil are my two favourites), then using all olive will still be fine. I highly recommend getting a bottle of plant-based omega 3 oil though, it’s one of my top nutritional essentials for a healthy plant-based pantry! I’ll use this chia seed oil if I’m wanting something flavour neutral (eg to let your lux olive oil shine through). Or mix it up with this sacha inchi oil if I want something a bit nuttier. Try them both!
So there you have it, a 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 it, leave me a comment below or share your version with me on Instagram, I’d love to hear what you think!
Enjoy the rest of your week. I’m hoping for some sun as my Dad is up from Te Kuiti, so we can make this salad and eat outside, before winter really hits us!
As always, take care, and til next time… stay happy and well.
- 4 beetroot 500g
- 4 carrots 400g
- 1 red onion 100g
- 1/2 c raisins
- 1/4 c sunflower seeds
- 1/4 c pumpkin seeds
- 1 c mint leaves
Orange Balsamic Dressing
- 1 orange peel removed
- 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp chia seed oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 drop wild orange essential oil
- Cracked black pepper to taste
- Wash and scrub the beetroot and carrots, and slice off any rough bits. You don't need to peel them, especially if they're organic, as a lot of nutrients are in fact in the skin. I've used my Vegetable Spiraliser to create long stands of the beetroots and carrots (so quick and looks amazing too). Alternatively you can cut them into match-sticks by slicing them thinly (do the carrots on a diagonal), then grab a bunch of slices and lay them flat and chop into match sticks. Or if you have a grater, mandoline you can also use that, or a food processor with a grating attachment or chopping function.
- Thinly slice the red onions and mix together with the remaining ingredients, reserving a few mint leaves, seeds and raisins to sprinkle on top. If you’re using dried and activated seeds they’ll be crunchy already so add as is, otherwise pop your seeds in a pan on low heat for 5 minutes, shaking regularly until they just start to go brown and aromatic.
- Blend the dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, then mix through the salad.
- Sprinkle with reserved mint, seeds and raisins and serve!
- Use dried and activated seeds if you have them, otherwise lightly toast as per the instructions above.
- I’ve amplified the flavour of this dressing by adding a drop of high-quality therapeutic grade wild orange essential oil to the mix. If you go the lemon route, use lemon essential oil. It’s like a power punch in your cooking! If you’d like to learn more about the therapeutic benefits of plant-based essential oils, and how you can use them in your food safely and effectively (and for your physical and mental health too), watch my online introductory workshop here.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.