Healthy Salad Recipe: Basque Beet Salad
This post written by guest blogger – Laurie Rockenbeck
Ever have one of those “oh…duh?!” moments when a word derivation becomes clear and you wonder how you’d never noticed it before? The word salad comes most recently from the French word salade, which in turn came from the Latin for salt (salary also comes from the daily salt ration given to Roman soldiers). According to Mark Kurlansky, the author of Salt: A World History, the word for salad in Latin is salted, but they didn’t sprinkle salt on it, they used a brine dressing. I have a hard time thinking of any salad I make that doesn’t have some salt in it, but I can think of a lot of salads that do not have any ‘greens.’
Salad can mean just about anything, from a simple pile of lettuce, to a complicated main dish salad, to dessert. What constitutes “healthy” these days is a matter of debate. Low fat, low-carb, low-this and low-that trends make for rather nebulous definitions. I define healthy as something that is created from fresh ‘whole’ ingredients. Anything that I have to cut up into smaller pieces in order to eat is likely to be ‘healthier’ than anything I find in a bag off the shelf at the grocery store. If I have to pull it out of the ground or cut it off the vine first, all the better. It’s easy to take a perfectly healthy vegetable and make it not so healthy by coating it with a fat-laden dressing; think traditional coleslaw or potato with mayonnaise-based dressings. The salads here all use a minimum amount of olive oil and are brightened with tart and sour elements from vinegar, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice.
I used to hate beets. Like many people, I had only had one kind of beet--ruined. I know people love their canned, pickled beets, but I always found them nothing short of foul. Since I love pickles, I just assumed it had to be the beets, right? Wrong. Like many vegetables, the preparation makes all the difference. About ten years ago, I had a version of this salad at a restaurant. It changed my entire relationship with beets. I was converted from an avid beet hater to someone who was open to the possibilities this veggie has to offer. My husband grows beets in our garden, and I have loved just about everything we’ve made with them.
- 3 beets
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1-9 TBSP chopped parsley
- 3 TBSP sherry wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- Salt—large crystal sea salt, to taste
- Trim the beets to leave 2-3” of stem. Cover with cold water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook on a low boil until beets are tender. (30-50 minutes depending on size and age of beets.) Remove from water and set aside to cool.
- Peel and slice beets very thin using a sharp knife or a mandolin. Layer on plate leaving as much of each slice exposed as possible.
- Mince garlic and sprinkle over the beets.
- Sprinkle parsley over beets and garlic.
- Drizzle vinegar and oil over the top.*
- Sprinkle with sea salt, crushing the crystals as you go.
- Pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.
*If you are preparing this ahead, work up through step 5 and refrigerate up to three hours ahead. Add the salt JUST before serving so the crystals remain crunchy on the beets.
Laurie Rockenbeck is a writer, knitter and blogger in Redmond, Washington. Her blog covers a mélange of subjects and can be found at laurierockenbeck.com