A.k.a., Beets on Vacation.
You see, my relationship with beets had gone a little stale. Instead of cherishing them as the healthy and flavourful vegetable that they are, I found myself neglecting them, leaving them in the back of the fridge unnoticed for days (weeks?) at a time.
Our relationship had issues. Whenever I took them out, it was the same story – beets and goat cheese. Maybe another type of fresh cheese. Maybe some dill. Maybe we should just end things.
And although I loved them, I couldn’t help but thinking of them as a nuisance waiting for me at home. If they could text, beets would be like “when we gonna have a date night??” and you’d reply “Ugh, we just went out for dinner a few weeks ago! Remember the goat cheese??”
But like so many relationship dilemmas, beets were not the problem. It was me. I was taking beets out to the same place every time, and expecting beets to do something different. Enough complaining – it was time to shake things up and give us a vacation from our routine. So I took beets to a tropical paradise far far away.
And the results were amazing. We found love again! I’m certainly not the first to combine beets and coconut, but it was a first time for me. Earthy beets get a lovely blanket of a tangy-sweet lime dressing, and are topped off with toasty, crunchy coconut. It’s how we got the magic back.
Roasting the beets individually wrapped in foil is the least messy way that I know to make them – but you’ll just have to accept that it’s messy (when using red beets). You can use gloves if you like, but I find the resulting red-stained hands funny, so I just dive right in. The easiest way to remove beet skins after they’ve been roasted is with the back of a spoon – it leaves the most amount of beet in tact. Although the salad requires only one beet (or half of a red beet and half of a golden beet) I roast more than I need and keep them in the fridge to use throughout the week (no sense in doing all that work for only one beet).
One beet (or 1/2 a red, 1/2 a golden)
[Both ends trimmed]
1 tablespoon lime juice (half a juicy lime)
1 teaspoon raw sugar or honey (**use sugar for vegan recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
- Individually wrap beets in foil. Roast in a 400 degree oven, for at least 1 hour.
Beets are ready when a knife can be easily inserted without any resistance.
Roast beets that are roughly the same size to ensure they’re ready at the same time.
I tend to roast several beets at once and use the rest for other recipes (see note below).
- Allow beets to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove skins with back of spoon.
Chop beets into wedges.
- Mix the ingredients for the dressing.
- Roughly chop the parsley and mint for the salad. Mix together (reserve 1 tablespoon of mint for garnish).
Measure the amounts after chopping.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of the dressing into the mint/parsley mixture in bowl you will serve salad in.
- Arrange beet wedges around the mint/parsley salad. Sprinkle with 1 more tablespoon of dressing.
Alternate red and golden beets for an attractive presentation.
- Sprinkle salad with toasted coconut, and remaining tablespoon of mint.
To toast your own coconut, see tips below.
♠To toast your own coconut, place coconut in a dry frying pan (no added oil) and cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until coconut has toasty brown edges. This usually takes around 10 minutes. Watch carefully as it can burn easily.
♠The dressing recipe makes a little extra, as you may find you want a little more on your salad. Otherwise, you can use the dressing for another salad (take one to work!) or just to marinate the extra roasted beets in.
♠Red beets stain! If your hands get stained, try scrubbing them with baking soda. Either way, it won’t even last for a whole day. When storing the roasted red beets, keep them separate from other ingredients (or they will become pinkish-red).
Ideas to use up extra roasted beets:
-Toss with cooked whole wheat pasta, heavy cream and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and fresh thyme.
-Finely chop beets and mix with high-quality olive oil, a touch of red wine and salt. Serve alongside cheese and crostini.
-Slice beets, layer in an oven-safe (non-stick!) frying pan that’s been rubbed with butter. Mix one egg for each beet with a bit of milk, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over beets and bake at 350 degrees until eggs are just set (about 10-15 minutes).