Side, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Vegan

Spring Beet Salad

Easter has come and gone, which means ready or not, Spring is here. You’re probable getting antsy to have people over and show off the daffodils in your front yard, so go ahead-plan that perfect brunch. Mimosas, salmon, asparagus, fresh bread, and a slamming citrus beet salad.

This recipe was entirely unplanned. I was invited to a lovely Easter brunch and wanted to bring something appropriate. Which is a problem when you’re the lone Jew at Easter brunch. Appropriate is not a quality I exhibit with any great frequency and I was more than slightly concerned that I’d cross the line and bring some leftover gefilte fish (homemade, by the way) if I didn’t get to the market with haste. So I jumped in the car and drove without a plan in my pocket.

I’m all about seasonal foods, and when I arrived a la marchet, the beets were screaming to star in my yet-to-be-determined Easter side dish. How could I turn them down? If you know anything about me you know I love all things garish and grand, and beets are perhaps the most ostentatious of the vegetable kingdom.

So, what else goes in a beet salad? Well, the basil looked great. And blood oranges? Yes please. I like my salads to have some crunch and I found the perfect bite in the bulk aisle: hazelnuts. This may seem like a random assortment of ingredients. And it is. But it is a simply divine random assortment of ingredients. As long as your guests like beets, they’ll love this salad. The colors are spectacular, give those Easter eggs some competition.

I’d say “Taste the Rainbow,” but I think Skittles would trample me faster than a drag queen at a Lane Bryant sale.

So just make the salad.

Free of Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Corn, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts (optional), Vegan

  • ~2 pounds Beets (Red, Golden, Chiogga, whatever catches your eye, about 6 medium beets)
  • ~2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil (for roasting the beets)
  • 3 Blood Oranges
  • ~3/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup Chopped Hazelnuts
  • ~1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Salt (taste, then add)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup Blood Orange Juice (from the aforementioned oranges)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil

Get Busy

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tops off the beets and then split them in half from top to bottom.
  2. Lay the beets in a roasting tray, cut side down, and drizzle some olive oil over their backsides.
  3. Roast the beets for about 1 1/2 hours, or until they are fork tender.
  4. Allow the beets to cool, then rub the skin off their backs. This will be relatively easy, but you can always use a paring knife if it gets tricky.
  5. Cut the beets into thin slices, fillets if you will. Set these aside.
  6. Peel the oranges and cut them into supremes (this means using a paring knife to cut out each segment, leaving behind all the pith). Do this over a bowl so you can save the dripping juice to use later.
  7. Toss the beets, orange segments and thin onion slices together in a large bowl.
  8. In a dry saute pan, toast the chopped hazelnuts until they are slightly browned and very fragrant, about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  9. Measure out the juice that dripped from cutting the oranges and if you need more, squeeze it out of the now decimated oranges. When you have 1/3 cup, pour that into a blender. Add the basil leaves, the 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend everything on high until you have a smooth dressing.
  10. Pour the dressing over the beets, oranges and onions. Toss in the toasted hazelnuts and mix everything together. You are done. Congratulate yourself.

Prep. Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: 4-6 side servings