A healthy and delicious raw beet salad is a recipe for a more productive day and a longer life. For a Kennedy-quality legacy, you’re on your own.
Having just spent the past half hour reading about the passing of Edward Kennedy and the deep and sprawling Kennedy family legacy, the question of whether I liked beets as a kid does not register as particularly profound. I didn’t. But now I do. Even raw beets. So does my four-year-old, now that she’s tasted this beet salad. But that’s all I plan to say about that.
I have a feeling you’ll like it, too—especially if your summer, like mine, has been at least as much Kennedian excess as it has been civil rights activism. At least as much. This sweet and savory salad, which comes together in a flash but tastes of depth and complexity, offers all the health benefits of unadulterated beets plus a surprisingly long-burning source of energy. You know, in case you decide to work a little harder on your legacy come Autumn.
Raw Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
-serves 3 as an appetizer or 2 for lunch-
3 smallish raw beets, trimmed and peeled
1/2 small red onion, peeled
1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 shallot, minced
1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons good-quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Two good pinches salt
A few good grinds black pepper
4 ounces fresh goat cheese (delicious but optional)
Cut the beets and onion on the julienne blade of a mandoline, or grate them on a box grater if you don’t have a mandoline. (If you don’t have one, though, you’re really missing out! Perfectly decent ones come fairly cheap at Pearl River Mart.)
Combine the beets, onion, walnuts, orange zest and shallots in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sherry vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.
Divide the salad onto serving plates and top with crumbled goat cheese, if using.
Update: I’ve just entered this recipe into Mel and Leela’s Beet ‘n Squash You competition, which debuts this month. The contest highlights the beauty of seasonal veggies but doesn’t sacrifice the snark. So, of course, it’s right up my alley. Wish me luck!