Beet, Blood Orange, and Olive Salad

Recipe and photo contributed by Stephanie Deihl Yield:  6 servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour 15 minutes

Beet, Blood Orange, and Olive Salad

This salad is full of flavor. It’s a bit too bold for my kids’ tastes, so I usually reserve some marinated beets and orange segments (not touching, of course) for them before assembling the rest of the salad for the adults. It’s a tasty salad that is not only vegan and gluten-free, but also avoids the most common allergens. The finished salad is best served immediately, but the beets can be roasted and refrigerated for up to three days before serving, and marinated in the dressing up to six hours before serving. The leftover dressing will hold, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Ingredients

Salad:

5 to 6 medium red beets

½ bulb fennel, stems removed, halved, cored and sliced paper thin

4 small blood oranges

½ cup Greek black olives, pitted

⅛ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:

½ medium shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

2 tablespoons blood orange juice (reserved from the oranges for the salad)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

10 grinds black pepper

⅔ cup grapeseed or other neutral vegetable oil

1 tablespoon Greek olive oil (optional)

Instructions

  1. To roast the beets, preheat the oven to 350°F. Wrap each beet in foil individually and place them on a large baking sheet. Place on a rack in the middle of the oven. Roast for 1 to 1¼ hours, or until a fork inserted near the stem end meets very little resistance.
  2. When the beets are cool enough to handle, unwrap the foil and remove the peels by rubbing the beets between the palms of your hands with a paper towel. Place the peeled beets into a medium bowl and refrigerate until they reach room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, segment the blood oranges by slicing off the peel, including as much of the white membrane between the peel and the flesh as you can. Holding 1 of the oranges over a bowl, use a paring knife to slice between the membranes (the thin “skin” that separates the segments) and let the segments fall into the bowl. Squeeze as much juice as you can from the membranes into another small bowl and reserve for the dressing. Repeat with the remaining oranges and set aside.
  4. To make the dressing, in a medium bowl combine the shallot, blood orange juice, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. (If you don’t have 2 tablespoons of blood orange juice reserved, use regular orange juice—the fresher the better). Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Drizzle in the oils, whisking constantly, until emulsified.
  5. Once they have cooled, halve the beets lengthwise and cut into 4 to 6 segments per half.  Return the beets to the bowl. Drizzle with ¼ cup of the dressing and sprinkle with the salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss gently to combine, being careful not to break the beet slices. At this point, you can prepare the rest of the salad, or if you are working ahead, refrigerate the beets for up to 6 hours.
  6. In another medium bowl, combine the fennel slices, blood orange segments, olives, and ¼ cup of dressing. Toss to coat.
  7. When ready to serve, toss the beets with the fennel-orange mixture and toss gently.  Serve immediately.

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