Beets are the best! I first had a chance to tell you how much I LOVE these BEETiful root veggies in the fresh and healthy Beet Slaw Post.
We grew up with many beet dishes on our family table. We all love them, but my Aba (father) is by far the biggest beet fan out there I know. 🙂 One of his favorite Tunisian salads is a simple combo of beets, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil… and whenever he cooks beets in water, he saves the beet water and drinks it as his borscht drink. In fact, many years ago my husband (then my boyfriend) came to Israel with me to meet my family for the first time. One day, we were just walking into the house and in the kitchen my Aba had just finished cooking beets. He was making himself his famous borscht drink, when he saw us coming in he said: “David, David come here…”. He poured the beet water into two tall glasses, held one, handed the other to David and said: “Lechaim!” (Cheers). The bright purpulish liquid in my Aba’s glass was gone in a matter of seconds… David took a little longer, but he finished his glass of beet water and the both of them had huge smiles on their faces. 🙂 This is one of the first memories I have of my Aba and my David together… and it always puts a huge smile on my face as well.
Beets are so good for you…
Beyond beets’ incredible flavor and color, their nutritious value is pretty impressive. Here are just a few health facts and benefits: Beets are an awesome source of fibers, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and iron; they also provide a unique mix of antioxidants. Beets are known to reduce blood pressure and they act as a great detox support for our body. In order to gain all of beets’ great qualities generally they need simple and quick prep. My Savta (grandma) who made many beet dishes as part as our Tunisian table and my Aba who loves beets and cooks them often, never mentioned specific cooking time for beets. However, throughout the years I’ve learned that in order to keep the beets’ high nutritious value, heat and cooking time needs to be monitored. This is why I usually pick small to medium-sized beets and I boil them for no longer than 15-20 minutes.
This salad is one of our family favorites; I usually make it for our Friday Shabbat dinner. The perfect combo of flavors and colors makes it a great side dish.
Color me Beets
Beets’ color is so bright and pretty. I use beet water and beet juice as food coloring. It’s the BEST! Try a few drops of beet juice in cake frosting, homemade ice cream or in homemade Tehina (tahini) sauce…you will not believe how beautiful your dishes will look… Two important tips about color:
1. Peeling or cutting beets can stain your hands and skin; the color stays a few hours longer even after washing hands. In the past I tried different washing methods, rubbing half a lemon on… still some pink stains stay on a few hours longer. For me it is not a deal breaker, I try to minimize the time peeling and handling the beets and I end up having a few pink stains on my hands for the day. I am not huge fan of kitchen gloves, but to keep perfectly clean hands, you may want to put them on.
2. After boiling the beets in water, you will notice the water dark and rich color. To keep the color on the beets after boiling, allow them to cool completely in their water. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
You will need:
3 small-medium Beets
4 oz. Goat Cheese
¼ cup Roasted crushed Pistachios (peeled)
1 clove Garlic
1 tsp. Mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp. Honey
1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
⅛ tsp. Salt (a pinch)
⅛ tsp. Black Pepper
Let’s get to work:
Start with our beets, we need to get the bulbs peeled. Cut off the “tail” (looks like a rat-tail right?!…) And cut off the “neck”. If you have the beets’ green leaves at the top, don’t throw them away! Wash them and save for another dish.
Beet leaves are great, I usually sauté them with garlic, onions, Silan and soy sauce and serve over mash potatoes or I make patties out of them…
Peel the skin off; my vegetable peeler is perfect for this task. Set the peeled beets aside at the kitchen sink and rinse them super QUICKLY. We don’t want too much color running out of them.
Time to place them in a pot and fill it with water enough to just cover them.
Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot and boil the beets for about 15-20 minutes (if your beets are large, they might need a little longer). After 15 minutes of boiling, turn the heat off, keep the pot covered and allow the beets to cool completely in their water.
This may take up to an hour and will help our beets soak back their color.
Meanwhile we can make the dressing. This dressing tastes so good that I use it in other salads as well.
Mince one clove of garlic. I use the salt (a pinch from the recipe) on top while mincing.
Combine the minced garlic with mayonnaise and honey first.
Add the rest of the dressing ingredients: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper and salt (if you didn’t add it already with the garlic). Whisk the dressing well to combine.
The dressing is ready!
I also use this time to shell the pistachios and crush them. If you need to assign a kitchen job to kids or any other helpers you have around- peeling pistachios is a great one!
My kids get to help me peel the pistachios while working on their fine motor skills. 🙂 Once the pistachios are peeled, you may roughly chop them or crush them in a sealed plastic bag. This is when an empty coffee mug comes handy.
The pistachios are ready. Let’s put this salad together!
Carefully take out the beets onto a cutting surface.
Slice them into circles. Not too thick, not too thin… I like them in about ¼ of an inch thickness.
Arrange the beet circles onto a serving plate. Time for some cheese…
I LOVE goat cheese! …and it goes perfectly with beets. Crumble goat cheese on top. Sprinkle the crushed pistachios and drizzle the yummy salad dressing all over.
Look at these beautiful colors!!!
Time to reward yourself for all your hard work… it wasn’t that hard now, was it?
Beet Goat Cheese Pistachio Salad-
Peel the Beet bulbs, rinse them quickly and place in a pot.
Fill the pot with water to just cover the Beets and bring to a boil.
Boil for about 15 minutes.
Allow the Beets to cool in their water and the pot for about an hour.
Cut the Beets into ¼ inch circles and arrange onto a serving plate.
Crumble Goat Cheese on top.
Sprinkle the crushed roasted Pistachios.
Drizzle with the homemade salad Dressing.
For the Dressing:
Minced one clove of Garlic.
Combine (in this order): minced Garlic, Mayonnaise, Honey, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt and Black Pepper.