Here is a salad to shake you out of the winter doldrums! It’s crunchy, it’s colorful, and it’s got a tangy-sweet dressing that will make even raw beets taste good.
I happen to really like beets on their own, but their earthy taste benefits from being paired with fat and acid even more. For example, you will often find roasted beets in a salad with walnuts (sometimes candied) and goat cheese or blue cheese and a sherry vinaigrette dressing. The richness of the nuts and cheese at one end of the taste spectrum, and the bright flavor of the vinegar on the other lets the beets fall comfortably in the middle.
This recipe has some hearty fats in it too, in the form of toasted sunflower seeds and diced avocado. Despite its richness, avocado is high in the minerals potassium and iron, vitamin E, and protein, and is now considered a healthy form of fat. Sunflower seeds also pack a nutritional boost of vitamin E and protein.
The cartoon character Popeye told us all we need to know about spinach, so I won’t even go into it. Add the beets, widely known to be a powerhouse of calcium, iron, and vitamin C, this salad may be just what your body needs at this time of year.
You can throw this salad together in a few minutes. It makes a colorful centerpiece, and it’s so filling that it could be all you need for lunch or dinner. If you don’t have sunflower seeds, use almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, or hazelnuts, instead.
Raw Beet and Arugula Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 large beets, peeled
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed
- 1 large, ripe avocado, diced
- 3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
- Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, whisk together the shallots, oil, vinegar, and honey with a dash of salt and pepper.
Grate the beets and toss them in the dressing. Add the spinach and celery and toss well. Fold in the avocado, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with the sunflower seeds sprinkled on top.
Louisa Shafia is a cook with a passion for healthy eating. She recently penned Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, a collection of seasonal recipes and eco-friendly advice on food. To watch her cooking videos, see her recipes, and find out about her cooking classes, go to lucidfood.com.