Beets are available year-round in Morocco, where they're often prepared as a colorful side salad with a light lemon vinaigrette. Naturally sweet and very healthy, they've earned the reputation of being a superfood that's rich in potassium, manganese, vitamin C, and fiber.
If you've never worked with fresh beets before, you may not know of a technique to make peeling them easier. Cook them until tender – when you can insert a sharp knife into the center of the beets, they're done. Rinse in cold water and slide off the skins. It's that easy! The beets can be cooked by boiling conventionally or in a pressure cooker, as described below, or by roasting.
This cold beet salad can be prepared a day in advance. If making the same day as serving, allow an hour or more for the salad to chill and marinate. My family likes it with lots of onion; since the onion will absorb the color of the beets, you may want to reserve a little on the side to use as a garnish at serving time.
Serve the beetroot salad alone or as part of a traditional Moroccan salad plate.
- 2 pounds red beet roots
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Minced or slivered red onion, to taste (optional)
- Rinse the beet roots. Place in a pot or pressure cooker and cover with cold water. Boil or pressure cook the beets until tender. Test by piercing the beet with a sharp knife; if it can be inserted into the center, the beet is cooked. This can take up to an hour and half when boiling, and up to 40 minutes when pressure cooking--how long depends on how large the beets are. If the beets you're cooking are different sizes, simply check the cooking at intervals and remove the beets one by one as they're done.
- Drain the beets, rinse under cold running water and slide the skins off while the beets are still warm. Allow the beets to cool.
- Cut the beets into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices of uniform thickness, and then cut each slice into uniformly sized cubes.
- Transfer the cubed beets to a large bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight.
- Prior to serving, taste the salad and adjust the seasoning if desired. The salad may be garnished with freshly slivered onion or a little more parsley.