Up until a few years ago, I hated beets with a passion. As much as I wanted to like them, I could not quash the waves of revulsion that washed over me with each mouthful. Despite their beautiful, brilliant color, sweetness, and pleasing texture, the experience was just a little too close to eating dirt for me to stomach.
But shortly after I moved to the Bay Area, I was introduced to golden beets. And to my complete surprise, I liked them. They are just as sweet as red beets but a lot milder and less earthy in flavor. Golden beets ended up serving as a sort of “gateway” beet for me, easing me into Chioggas and then finally on to the red beets that used to so offend my taste buds. Now I’m a total convert. So I was glad to see the big bunch o beets in our final CSA pick up — red, with long trailing root ends and covered in dirt.
Although I love pickled and roasted beets, I decided that I wanted to try something slightly different. So I tried to recreate a very tasty creamy beet salad Id eaten at Poulet, a North Berkeley restaurant that serves delicious salads and yes, you guessed it, chicken.
It turned out quite well. I think you’ll like it. A few other variations you may want to consider: adding some sliced cucumbers, substituting a little very finely minced garlic for the shallot/onion, and adding a jot of horseradish along with any number of other fresh herbs (though dill would be first on my list).
Creamy Beet Salad
* 4-6 large beets, tops removed
* 1 shallot or small onion, minced or finely sliced
* 3 Tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt
* 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
* 2-3 tsp white wine, sherry or champagne vinegar (you can also use lemon juice if you prefer that to vinegar)
* 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
* 1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
* Sea salt to taste
1. Begin by cooking the beets. You can either boil them or roast them. Roasting will preserve more of the nutrients and concentrate the flavors better but boiling is super easy so that is usually the method I choose for simple convenience. To boil: Leave the skins on and boil for roughly 35-40 minutes (until tender when poked with a fork) then drain them and let them cool until you can handle them. Then slice or cube to your desired size and shape. To roast: preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the beets and cut them into cubes then drizzle or toss with olive oil to coat and bake in a single layer on a heavy cookie sheet for roughly 40 minutes or until tender.
2. While the beets cool, make the dressing. Simply combine all the ingredients and mix well. Then toss the sliced or cubed beets and stir to combine. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. This salad tastes good right away but will also get even better in another day as the flavors have time to blossom.
A few more recipes you might like: