Friday, May 9, 2014

Moroccan Carrot and Beet Salad

I have never prepared raw beets before.  They've always come out of a can.  I love the texture and flavor of canned beets, but it's time to break out of that bubble.

I also love Moroccan food, including their salads.  I vaguely recalled having a salad with carrots and beets in it, and picked up some at the market before doing research.  I got some plain yogurt too, just in case.  Turns out I didn't need it for this, but I'm sure I'll use it on something.  I did not have the raisins listed in the Simply Recipes I'm using for a guide, but I did have some dates I could chop up.  Now that I think about it, dates are probably more authentic than golden raisins.

So I got out the food processor (nothing against the box grater, but beets can get really messy) and whipped up her recipe mostly as written, including leaving the skin on the beets.  Hey, whatever makes the process easier.  When I had the first serving (pictured above), I wasn't all that impressed.  It was nice and crunchy, but the taste was a bit flat despite all those seasonings.

The next day, I microwaved a serving with a bit of water for three minutes to steam the veggies, then put it back in the fridge until dinnertime.  Bingo.  It brought out the sweetness and flavors of the veggies and distributed the seasonings more evenly, while still retaining enough crunch to be considered a salad instead of a vegetable dish.  My version of the recipe will reflect this change.

2 medium carrots, peeled
1 bunch (about 3) fresh beets
*1/2 C chopped dates or golden raisins
*1/2 tsp sweet paprika
*1/4 tsp cumin
*1/4 tsp cinnamon
*pinch cayenne
pinch salt
2 Tb lemon juice
*2 Tb honey
*2 Tb chopped fresh mint (optional)

1.  Put on an apron...not kidding, and use a plastic cutting board because you're never getting the beet juice out of a wooden one.  Remove greens, tops, and root ends from beets.  Peel if desired.  Grate carrots and beets either with a box grater or in a food processor.  Place in a large strainer and rinse under cold water to remove some of the excess beet juice.  Toss in dates.

2.  Place veggies in a large saucepan or soup pot.  Add 1/2 C water.  Bring to a low boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until veggies begin to wilt but are not soft.  Dump back in the strainer and rinse again with cold water to stop the cooking.  Allow to drain while you whip up the dressing.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients except for mint.  Toss together with veggies in a bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let flavors meld.

4.  Right before serving, chop up mint and toss into salad.  Fresh mint turns a sickly black if it sits too long after cutting.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!

Makes 6 generous servings

Difficulty rating :)

1 comment:

  1. Beets are nice with boiled potatoes and a bit of olive oil and vinegar. Sounds simple, but quite tasty :-)


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