Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crunchy Autumn Vegetable Salad

This vibrant salad takes advantage of several root vegetables of late fall and winter, including the adorably ugly celeriac (celery root). Ugly on the outside, I love the meaty, celery-like taste of the flesh hiding on the inside. Use the shredder attachment of a food processor to ease preparation of the celeriac and fennel bulb for this salad.

For the salad:
  • 1 pound beets
  • 8 ounces green beans
  • 3 cups peeled and shredded celeriac
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded fennel bulb
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons bottled prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1. To prepare the salad, trim the beets, leaving on the roots and 1-inch of the stems (doing so helps prevent bleeding while the beets cook).  Scrub with a brush and place in a saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes, until the beets are tender.

2. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.  Let cool until you can handle the beets without burning your fingers.  Trim off the roots and rub off the skins, then cut the beets into 1/4-inch thick slices and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, trim the green beans on the tough end, leaving the pretty tapered end intact.  Cut the beans in half and cook in boiling water for 4 minutes, until crisp-tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water; drain again.

4. Combine the green beans in a bowl with the celeriac, fennel, and chopped chives.

5. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, horseradish, agave, mustard, black pepper, and salt.

6. Drizzle the yogurt mixture over the green bean mixture and toss to coat.

7. Divide the beet slices evenly among 6 salad plates (about 1/3 cup per plate).  Top each serving with about 1 cup green bean mixture.

I loved this salad alongside Gardein's stuffed turkey (which I can't get enough of this time of year), and warm cornbread.

Or try pairing with a hearty bowl of vegetable soup for a light lunch: 

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1/3 cup beets, 1 cup green bean mixture), Calories 99

Tasting Notes:
A great salad that would make even picky eaters eat their veggies. The dressing is rich and creamy, with great zip from the horseradish, and the beets and horseradish paired together perfectly.  You could use about half as much dressing if you want to keep the salad lighter; the celeriac and fennel are thickly coated as is. A nice crunch from the green beans, although that actually was the only veggie that merited the term "crunchy." Do make sure to plate the beets on the bottom, if you don't want the entire salad to turn pink.


I enjoyed this salad, but not necessarily the lengthy preparation.  Luckily, you can barely tell the difference when you make it with canned sliced beets instead.

Of course the canned slices don't compare in terms of fresh flavor, and you can see in my photo that the canned beets are smaller and thinner.  But because of the bold flavors in the green bean mixture, it's an easy substitute when you want to make this salad in a hurry.

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