The last page of the most recent issue of Vegetarian Times features Tal Ronnen, and the question of what fruits and veggies make good pairings. In his answer he mentions that his restaurant makes a beet and granny smith apple salad, and rather than sharing an actual recipe, he provides an overview of how you can boil the beets, dice them along with the apples, and mix everything together with a lemon and olive oil dressing.
After I read this, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I knew right away it was something I wanted to try to make this weekend. So what follows is my recipe, based on Tal Ronnen's concept.
- 2 bunches of beets (about 6 to 8 beets in various sizes, plus greens)
- 2 granny smith apples
- 2-3 cups arugula
- juice of 2 small lemons
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon sweetener (I will admit I used some local honey, which most vegans do not consider to be vegan--I go back and forth between avoiding and using honey, and I totally understand why many people are not comfortable with using it, but have my own reasons for wavering. Regardless, you could probably sub in some brown rice syrup or agave rather than honey and create a similar flavor.)
- Salt to taste (I think I used about 1/2 a teaspoon? Maybe a pinch more? The trick is to taste it as you go.)
- Some balsamic vinegar
Remove the stems and greens from your beets, wash them, and set them aside for later. Rinse your beets and put them in a pan of water, skins still on, and turn the heat to high. Add a little bit of balsamic vinegar to the water to give the beets more flavor. (Maybe around a tablespoon or two? I didn't measure--just poured some in). You are going to bring this to a boil, reduce the heat a bit but still maintain a low to medium boil, and then cook the beets for about 45 minutes.
While the beets are cooking, wash and dice your apples, leaving the peels on. Set your diced apples aside in your salad bowl, along with the arugula.
Dip your beet greens into the pan of boiling water just to blanch them slightly and make them a little tender. Remove the thick part of the stems, stack the leaves and cut them into small pieces, and then add them to the bowl with the arugula and apples.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, sweetener, and salt to make your dressing.
Once the beets are fully cooked, you can rinse them under cold water to cool them down a bit, and then just slide the skins off with your fingers--they should come off pretty easily. (Although be forewarned you may wind up with beet-colored hands!) Once you have removed the skins, cut your beets into roughly the same -sized diced cubes as your apple pieces, and add them to the bowl.
Mix everything well with your dressing, and then enjoy! This salad produces a really pleasant combination of flavors: sweet and sour, tangy and tasty. It's pretty easy to make, and there's something about it that just makes you feel good when you eat it. I will definitely return to this recipe again, and I hope you like it too.