Golden Beets are Delicious Roasted or Raw
While red beets have an earthy-like flavor that I personally believe is best enhanced through roasting, golden beets are bright and lively and taste equally good raw or roasted. I especially like golden beets—both roasted and raw– in chopped salad.
Raw Golden Beets Are Best When Finely Chopped or Sliced Paper Thin
Without question, golden beets are most delicious when finely chopped or sliced paper thin. But of course chopping and slicing any beets–or any vegetable for that matter—can be a lot of work. It’s worth it though.
True to its name, my chopped salad recipe featured below calls for chopped beets. You can accomplish the chopping one of two ways; 1) put coarsely chopped beets in a food processor and pulse a few times to finely chop or, 2) use a mezzaluna.
What is a Mezzaluna?
A mezzaluna is a half-moon shaped kitchen knife-like tool (see photo to the right) guaranteed to elevate your entire salad chopping experience to a whole new level. To use a mezzaluna, you place whatever vegetables (pre-cut into about 1-inch pieces) you will be using on a cutting board and then hold on to the mezzaluna’s handles and simply rock the blade back and forth until your vegetables are chopped to your liking. If you are chopping lettuce leaves you will want to stack the leaves on your cutting board and then rock the mezzaluna over the leaves until you end up with lovely lettuce ribbons.
And sure, you can always resort to option 1 mentioned above and use a food processor to chop your veggies, but in the end I always find the food processor is more time-consuming thanks to the many steps it involves—plugging it in, washing three separate pieces, removing the blade, etc. It is so much less hassle to grab one tool and rock away.
If you decide to purchase a mezzaluna, it is worth it to invest in a good one. You want to make sure the blades are sturdy and razor sharp, that the handles are comfortable and that the mezzaluna is big enough to actually be effective (using a small mezzaluna is not only difficult to handle, but also not particularly effective either.) Size wise you want your mezzaluna to be about 9 or 10-inches, measured across from the ends of the blade. I personally love my 9-inch Wusthof mezzaluna, which I have had for years now.
Two More Chopped Salad Tips…
In addition to using a mezzaluna, my two other chopped salad tips include, 1) making sure all of your salad ingredients are super dry before you add the vinaigrette—this way the vinaigrette will “stick” to the ingredients without sliding off in a pool of water and 2) letting your salad sit “dressed” with the vinaigrette at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving,—this will allow the flavors to deepen and make for a much more flavorful salad.
Oh! and mason jars make the perfect combination of a chopped salad storage container and serving dish in one.
Chopped Salad with Golden Beets, Avocado & Citrus Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- 3 red bell peppers, finely chopped
- 8 small radishes, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, finely chopped
- 3 handfuls butterhead lettuce, chopped
- 1 handful cilantro or parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup green olives, finely chopped
- 3 small golden beet bulbs, peeled and finely chopped
- Pink Himalayan salt, to taste (Note: Costco’s Kirkland brand is the best deal for Pink Himalayan salt and can be purchased on Amazon here)
- 2 avocados, finely chopped
For the Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- Juice from 1 whole lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons raw honey
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Pink Himalayan salt, to taste (such as Costco’s Kirkland brand)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
- In a large salad bowl, add all of the ingredients above, except for the avocados, and gently toss.
- Drizzle the Citrus Vinaigrette on top (see recipe below) and toss again. Season lightly with salt to taste. Gently fold in the avocados. Serve at room temperature.
For the Vinaigrette:
- In a small bowl, mix together the shallots, lemon juice, mustard and honey. Slowly drizzle in the oil; whisk well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette on the salad. Let dressed salad sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Dressing will keep 5 days if you store it in a dark, covered container in the refrigerator.