At one family gathering, I brought a salad with beets. My husband’s Aunt upon hearing there were beets in the salad asked if they tasted like dirt. I responded that they had an earthy flavor, and she said, ” Well, they taste like dirt to me.”
Orange pairs well with beets and helps to give the beets a less earthy flavor, as evidenced by my daughter’s statement when she tasted this year’s beet salad. I handed her a plate and told her the beet salad was my offering. She took a bite and said she liked it because “it doesn’t have that really rustic flavor that beets sometimes have. ”
Nutritionally, beets are good for you, and this Roasted Beet, Carrot, and Orzo Salad With Orange Dressing is delicious too. When my mother-in-law was anemic, she looked up to see which vegetables had the best amount of iron and beet was number one on her list. It contains folates, manganese, fiber, potassium, and lots of other great stuff.
However, it is one of the vegetables that contain a good amount of sodium, about 100 mg in a cup (canned beets are about double). If you have issues with oxalates in spinach, the beetroot leaves will be a concern also. Most people won’t have issues with beets other than a little bit of pink pee and stained fingers because there’s so much better.
This is a great fall salad or side dish using root vegetables and other veggies. The homemade dressing
- 2 – 4 beets
- 2-4 carrots
- 1 small onion
- 2 cups orzo
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbs juice from fresh-squeezed orange plus grated rind
- 2 tbs red wine vinegar
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- Place beetroot, carrots, and onion in a pan or dish for roasting and drizzle with a little olive oil, roast in the oven on 325 until the carrots are softened, but not mushy.
- Cool the vegetables.
- Peel the beets and slice into one-inch squares.
- Slice carrots and onions about the same size.
- Toast pumpkin seeds.
- Prepare orzo according to the package directions.
- Drain orzo.
- In a medium to a large bowl, toss together the orzo, the chopped veggies, the dried cranberries, and toasted pumpkin seed.
- Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and place both the salad and the dressing separately into the fridge.
- When ready to serve, whisk one more time and drizzle over the salad and toss to combine.
Notes: I use this as a side dish or side salad, though the leftovers are often my lunch. As a side, it will serve 6-8, as a main only about 3-4.
I used orzo which small pasta, but spelt, rice, wheatberries, or even quinoa would substitute well – I was out of all of them. A little dried fruit gives a nice chewiness, plus the crunch of a nut or seed. I used pumpkin seeds because they were in season, but I’ve used pine nuts, and sunflower seeds or walnuts would work great. My carrots were purple, white, red, and orange but you can’t really tell since the beet juices stain everything.