I mentioned before that we’ve gotten quite a few beets in our CSA share – we get a bunch each week. I love beets, but I’ve been running out of ways to prepare them. I’ve made lacto-fermented beets, I’ve roasted them, I’ve thrown them in salads, I’ve made truffles with them, and I’m even trying to figure out how to bake with them. But still, there are more beets.
Did you know that beets are a wonderful powerhouse of nutrition? According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, beets are a great source of betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. They also are a great source of folate, manganese, and fiber, as well as other vitamins. I personally love them for this, but more importantly, for their flavor.
I didn’t always enjoy beets though, and I know there are many out there in the “eww, beets” camp. My experiences with beets as a child were rare, but when I did encounter them, they were canned. Blah. When I became an adult, however, I tried them again, and found that fresh beets are sweet and bursting with flavor. They also taste much different when roasted vs. steamed, and again are entirely different raw. If you’ve been a beet-hater most of your life, I encourage you to try them again – you might find there is a way you can really enjoy these beautiful veggies.
This simple slaw is one unique way to try them again. I’m not sure if you can call this a “slaw” – the ingredient list is much shorter than traditional slaws, and the only resemblance to a slaw ultimately is the fact that the beets are shredded. But I’m calling it a slaw, so it’s a slaw.
Even though the ingredient list is short, the flavors are full, fresh, and bright. The lovely part about this slaw is that those other ingredients transform the beet flavor into something less “earthy” – an attribute some beet-aphobes dislike about beets. The beets are a bit sweet, the lime a bit tart, and the pepper brings a bit of heat. I personally love the cilantro, which really bumps that “ooh, it’s summer!” freshness factor. If you’re anti-cilantro, you could opt to replace it with parsley or maybe even some mint. Basil might even play nicely.
This little slaw is delicious on its own, but I personally enjoyed it on top of my salads throughout the week. It was easy to throw together and lasted for several days, making it a convenient way to get more nutritious raw veggies into my diet. I might just make it again, seeing as how there are still beets to be had in my refrigerator, and it’s getting too hot to turn the oven on!
Raw Summer Beet Slaw (gluten-free, vegan)
2-3 large beets, peeled and shredded
1/4 c thinly sliced red onion
2 Anaheim chiles, seeded and diced (can substitute other chiles, just be mindful of the heat if you use jalapenos or serranos)
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Toss together all ingredients and season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Have other ideas on how to keep the kitchen cool while making a healthy meal? Share at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!