Creamy Beet Salad with Middle Eastern Spices and Avocado
Winter hit us kinda hard last week in Toronto. It didn’t snow much, but cut right to the chase and presented itself in a bone-chilling preview of February. I tried to take pictures of a cake I made, but there wasn’t enough sun, and thankfully my husband reminded me that bitter cake isn’t for everyone anyway. I’m still working on that recipe. It was a bitter kind of week though, in cake and mood.
This week feels little better and warmer, but I’m still craving comfort foods. Sweet, creamy, and warm. This time of year is a really good time to load up on really nutrient dense foods, but I can’t deny that coffee, sugar, and boozy drinks are tempting. Mood boosts please!
I Facebooked my way through the Ayurveda class that we took earlier this year, it totally wasn’t my thing. But I think back to it from the perspective of balance. When we’re cold at the core, we crave warmth at the core, there’s no denying that. I couldn’t take that class seriously as there were no scientific explanations for anything, it was a good reminder that we can use food to balance our moods. Perhaps a sweet and creamy beet salad is a better idea than bitter cake.
The salad is eaten cold (or at room temp), but is warmed by spices, making it a great salad if you need to pack it for the day out. I used the dukkah from my last post for spice, but it can be replaced with some ground nuts and a sprinkle of cumin.
The veggies can be cooked in advance, since beets can take a while. The best part is that the salad (sans avocado and garnishes) can be stored for days, serving up an instant dose of nourishing warmth when the craving kicks in.
I’ll be back to rounding up ideas for other foods for the season on my “Warming” Pinterest Board from last year, if you’re interested :)
Happy Hannukah and Thanksgiving to all that are celebrating this week. Stay healthy & warm!
- 1.5 lbs red beets (about 2 large)
- 1 large carrot
- 1/4 cup raisins, soaked
- 1/4 cup dressing (ingredients below)
- 1 large avocado
- 2 tsp. dukkah or any warm spice/nut mix
- cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 3 Tbps. full fat yogurt (I used 7% buffalo yogurt)
- 1 Tbsp. tahini
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 tsp.salt
- Put the carrot and beets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low-medium. Cover the pot, and simmer gently.
- The cooking time will vary dramatically depending on your veggie size. Large beets can take over an hour to cook, but you should take the vegetables out individually as they're done. Check if they're ready every 15 - 20 minutes or so, by piercing them with a sharp knife. They should feel tender, but not limp. Keep a close eye on the carrots, especially the narrow end, as that can be ready in as little as 15 - 20 mins after the water boils. I usually cut the carrot in half, so that the narrow end can be taken out before the fat end.
- While the vegetables are cooking, make the dressing. Mix all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and place in the fridge until ready to use.
- When all the vegetables are cooked, allow them to cool enough to handle comfortably. Peel and grate the vegetables.
- Mix veggies with raisins and 3 Tbsp. of the dressing, taste, and adjust the salt.
- The mixture can be stored in the fridge for a few days. When ready to serve, portion the veggie mix, and top with avocado chunks. Lightly salt the avocado and squeeze some lemon juice over it.
- Top each plate with a little bit of the remaining dressing, dukkah and cilantro leaves.