Welcome to Day 2 of Beet Week! If you have missed yesterday’s intro, check it out here.
There also is a giveaway for an awesome food processor (at the bottom) and a recipe for delicous red (beet) pasta in yesterday’s post.
So yesterday we had beets for dinner and today we have beet salad.
I am always amazed with beets. First of all there is the amazing, intoxicating colour once you remove the (sometimes very dirty looking) skin.
And then there is the flavor. Raw they taste so earthy and kind of wild. Then you cook (or roast) them and they turn almost sweet! I am not saying that the earthiness completely disappears when they are cooked, but (depending on cooking time) it is greatly reduced.
This flavor transformation is definitely happening in this Russian Beet Salad as well.
As with most Russian recipes (or more accurately the countries of the Former Soviet Union) I learnt this beet salad from my mom. I have helped her make this salad on many occasions, but usually I was just grating the beets. I let my mom apply her expertise in fine-tuning the remaining ingredients for a perfect creamy texture.
This harvest season I suddenly found myself with a surplus of beets. With my mom 8 hours away, I decided it was time to learn to make this Russian Beet Salad all by myself – from start to finish.
First the beets have to be cooked. I place them in a saucepan covered in water and boil them on medium heat until they are very soft. This takes 45-60 minutes. Next I need disposable gloves. They are essential when preparing red beets and you don’t want to run around with stained fingers for the next 24 hours or so.
Once the beets are cooked, you can pretty much just pull off the skin – no need for a peeler. To grate the beets a food processor with shredding disc comes in very handy (Hint hint: I am giving one away here). But since they are quite soft when cooked, a handheld grater does a quick job too.
The salad is seasoned with just salt + pepper, parsley and a healthy dose of pressed or grated garlic. The garlic a perfect companion to beets (in my opinion) but feel free to scale down the garlic to taste.
The creaminess of the salad comes from a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream. The amounts I mention in the recipe box below are approximates. Since beets don’t come in all uniform sizes, feel free to also adjust these as needed.
And now my favorite part of the salad: Nuts! I love the crunchy texture contrast that the nuts (use pecans or walnuts) provide to the creamy salad.
A few more nuts and parsley for garnish and there you have a colorful and oh-so-flavorful salad.
- 3 medium beets (~1.5 pounds/680 g)
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- ¼ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
- extra parsley and nuts for garnish
- Cook the beets in a large saucepan with plenty of water until they are very soft (45-60 minutes).
- When the beets have cooled enough, pull off the peel (using disposable gloves) and grate the beets.
- Combine the grated beets with mayonnaise, sour cream, nuts, garlic, parsley and salt & pepper to taste.
- Garnish salad with nuts and parsley. Chill for at least 1 hour for flavors to meld together.