My mom made this salad for us when we were kids. I remember being amazed by the magic of slipping skins off of beets after they boiled. My sister and I gathered nearby to make beet blush and lipstick potions. By the end of the evening, our fingertips were red, our lips were red, and our cheeks had been blushed enough times that we had transformed ourselves into little antique dolls with painted cheeks.
Did you know that beets are super duper good for you? I think one of the funny things about beets is that they are incredibly beneficial to your blood health. Given their color, it seems like they should be! But they have a bunch of other benefits, too–check out Healthline’s list of 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Beets.
Ok, let’s be honest: Veggies are just plain good for you. ‘Nuf said. Nearly all the recipes you’ll find here have the benefit of making your life better just by serving up about a billion good vitamins and minerals for your body and brain, but I don’t like to spend a whole bunch of time on that because I just simply believe that the important thing about food is that it tastes good and you enjoy eating it.
Ideally, as always, use the freshest ingredients possible. The main reason for using fresh ingredients is that the flavor is unsurpassed. The other reason is that freshly culled veggies are higher in nutrients. (That might be why they taste better, eh?) And, as a recent cultivator of onions, I am convinced that there simply is nothing better than a freshly picked onion. I remember Laura Ingalls proclaiming that they were eating spring onion sandwiches in the Little House on the Prairie series. The very idea! Just onion sandwiches? How strange! And now I get it: Fresh onions are magically different. Their bite is less severe. They have a fullness of flavor that it impossible to replicate.
Beets are ridiculously easy to grow from seed, so if you don’t have some already, plant some next spring. These beets were pulled from the garden minutes before being scrubbed and placed in salty boiling water.
If you can’t find freshly grown onions from your own garden or a friend’s, then look for a sweet onion variety, such as a Walla-Walla Sweet or Hawaiian Sweet. Otherwise, do not despair, the marination process will help remove a lot of the sting from any onion variety.
Add 5-6 washed beets to a pot of hot, salty boiling water.
Meanwhile, peel and slice 2 small onions into thin rounds. Add 1/3-cup red wine vinegar and 1/3-cup olive oil into the base of a bowl and whisk in a pinch of salt. Add onions and stir to combine. Add chopped fresh dill. (Dried dill will work just as great–simply add it to the oil-vinegar mixture earlier and allow to absorb some of the liquid prior to adding the onions.) Stir all to combine.
Cook beets until just tender. Remove to a bowl of icy water. While beets are still in the cold water, slip off the skins using your hands or by gently scraping the beets with the back of a knife. Alternatively, use a clean, old towel or a paper towel, wrap the beet inside, and slip the skins off.
Slice beets into thin rounds and add to onions. Mix to incorporate, allowing the vinaigrette to fully coat your salad. Add fresh ground pepper to taste, and a pinch more salt if necessary. Let sit for at least 15 minutes prior to serving; a full hour is even better. This salad also works beautifully chilled overnight and served the following day as the flavors combine and the bite of the onion mellows. Dried dill will benefit from plenty of time infusing the dressing. This salad can keep in the fridge for a week.
We served this alongside turkey burgers and fresh broccoli. It is a great addition to most summer meals, sitting proudly next to a potato salad and buttery corn, and it adds an earthy, sweet, and subtly spicy flavor to a soup-and-sandwich lunch. It’s an easy way to dress up a plate of lettuce, too: Add 1/2 a cup of it and 1/2 a cup of grains to a green salad, top with roasted seeds or nuts, and you’ll have a complete meal.
For a truly pro chef meal that is super easy, add this to a veggie taco: Saute corn tortillas in butter, fill with sliced avocado, marinated beet salad, cheese of choice, and arugula. Voila! Impress your guests and try not to die with pleasure while eating.
- 5-6 fresh beets
- 2 small onions, freshly picked or sweet variety such as Walla-Walla Sweet or Maui Sweet, or any onion variety will do just fine
- Handful of fresh dill, coursely chopped, or 1 Tablespoon dried dill
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste