Beet Salad


At this point in the summer, I find my CSA overrun with beets and carrots. While I love the depth of flavor and sweetness that comes from roasting both these vegetables, it still feels too hot to have the oven on for the hour or more they would take to cook.

This week I made a fresh, slaw-like salad using both vegetables. I was inspired by the flavors in the Russian Carrot Salad, called Morkovcha or Korean Carrot Salad that features fresh carrots, onions, raw garlic, coriander and cayenne. The traditional recipes I’ve seen usually add vinegar and sugar, but my farmer’s market carrots and beets have been so sweet, I didn’t think mine needed it. Next time, I may add a splash of local honey, if I find the salad needs it. Also, I like to use whole coriander seeds that I crush by hand. This, along with toasting them, gives them a fuller flavor and adds another layer of texture to the salad.

I know some people feel doomed to purple-stained hands when preparing raw beets. A trick I learned many years ago is to first run your hands under hot water, dry, then lightly rub them with oil (I like olive). Finish by running your hands under cold water. Your pores absorb the oil and prevent your hands from getting stained. After working with the beets, any purple on your hands will wash away. No gloves necessary!


Beet and Carrot Salad

Makes about 4-6 servings

1 large beet (about ½ pound), peeled and grated

2 medium carrots (about ½ pound), peeled and grated

1 teaspoon coriander seed

¼ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

splash of honey, if desired

chopped parsley, if desired

salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine the grated beet and carrot in a small bowl. Toss gently and set aside.

2. Using a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife, crush the coriander seeds into small pieces. 

3. In a small saucepot or saute pan, gently warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the crushed coriander seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds are fragrant and begin to crackle, about 1 minute. Add the cayenne pepper and onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes until the onions are limp and translucent. Set aside to cool briefly.

4. Add the minced garlic and lemon juice to the beet and carrot mixture. Pour the oil mixture over the salad. Season with salt and pepper, then toss gently to mix. Add the parsley and taste. Add the honey, if desired. Store in refrigerator for several hours before serving.