Beet, Carrot and Orzo Salad With Amazing Orange Dressing

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

Beet, Carrot and Orzo Salad With Orange Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 4 beets
  • 2-4 carrots
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cups orzo
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tbs juice from fresh-squeezed orange plus grated rind
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme

Instructions:

  1. 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.
  2. Cool the vegetables.
  3. Peel the beets and slice them into one-inch squares.
  4. Slice carrots and onions about the same size.
  5. Toast pumpkin seeds.
  6. Prepare orzo according to the package directions.
  7. Drain orzo.
  8. In a medium to large bowl, toss together the orzo, the chopped veggies, the dried cranberries, and the toasted pumpkin seed.
  9. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and place both the salad and the dressing separately into the fridge.
  10. When ready to serve, whisk one more time 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, and as a main only about 3-4.

I used orzo which is 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.

Beet, Carrot and Orzo Salad With Orange Dressing
Beet, Carrot and Orzo Salad With Amazing Orange Dressing 2

In conclusion, the Beet, Carrot, and Orzo Salad with Amazing Orange Dressing is not just a delightful blend of flavors and textures but also a testament to the versatility and nutritional benefits of beets. The initial skepticism toward beets, marked by the comment about their earthy taste, gives way to a revelation in the form of an orange-infused dressing that transforms the beet experience. This culinary creation not only caters to the taste buds but also addresses the health-conscious mind.

The marriage of orange with beets not only counters the perceived rustic flavor but also elevates the overall taste profile, making it a winner even among those who may have reservations about the root vegetable. As attested by the daughter’s positive response, this salad becomes an enjoyable option for those seeking a departure from the conventional beet experience.

From a nutritional standpoint, the salad is a powerhouse. Beets, known for their iron content, become a go-to choice for those combating anemia, as in the case of the mother-in-law. Beyond iron, beets offer a spectrum of nutrients, including folates, manganese, fiber, and potassium, making them a wholesome addition to any diet. However, it is crucial to note the sodium content, especially for individuals with specific health concerns, and the potential oxalate-related issues for those avoiding spinach.

The recipe not only incorporates the nutritional benefits of beets but also showcases a thoughtful combination of other vegetables, grains, and seeds. The diverse hues of carrots and the earthy aroma of roasted onions complement the vibrant beets, creating a visually appealing dish that is as delightful to the eyes as it is to the palate. The inclusion of dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds adds a burst of flavor and texture, elevating the salad to a culinary masterpiece.

The dressing, with its zesty combination of fresh-squeezed orange juice, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh thyme, acts as the perfect finishing touch. Its citrusy notes not only enhance the overall taste but also contribute to the salad’s refreshing appeal. The careful orchestration of these ingredients results in a symphony of flavors, making each bite a culinary adventure.

As versatile as it is delicious, the Beet, Carrot, and Orzo Salad offers flexibility in ingredient choices, encouraging experimentation based on availability and personal preferences. The author’s creative substitutions, from using different types of pasta to varying the nuts and seeds, demonstrate the adaptability of the recipe, making it accessible to a wide range of tastes and dietary needs.

Whether served as a side dish or enjoyed as a main course, this salad stands out as a celebration of seasonal ingredients and a testament to the culinary possibilities of beets. With its rich nutritional profile, captivating flavors, and visual appeal, the Beet, Carrot, and Orzo Salad with Amazing Orange Dressing proves that a humble root vegetable can take center stage in creating a memorable dining experience.


Reviews

Orzo and Carrot Salad: A Burst of Flavor in Every Bite!

Rated 5 out of 5
November 15, 2023

This delightful recipe for Carrot and Orzo Salad is a true culinary gem. The vibrant colors of roasted beets, carrots, and onions create an eye-catching display, while the addition of dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds adds a perfect balance of sweetness and crunch. The homemade orange dressing, with its zesty notes and fresh thyme, ties the dish together with a burst of citrusy freshness. The versatility of this salad shines through with adaptable ingredient options, allowing for creative substitutions to suit individual preferences. Whether enjoyed as a refreshing side dish or a satisfying main course, this recipe is a celebration of wholesome ingredients and a harmonious symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds singing.

Lisa

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