Meal: Lunch, Dinner
Dietary Type: Vegetarian, Vegan
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves: serves 4
Healthy salads don’t just come in shades of green. For example, this shaved beet, fennel, and orange salad is super nutritious, not to mention tasty, bright, and beautiful. A spin on a classic Italian dish, the combination of juicy, sweet orange segments, fragrant thin slices of fennel, and earthy raw beets come together to make a colorful display of some of winter’s best produce.
People tend to shy away from eating beets at home, perhaps because they associate the root vegetable with their grandmother’s borscht, or maybe because they imagine beets involve a lot of prep work. In truth, they are very versatile and easy-to-use. Roasted, steamed, pureed, sliced, or shredded, beets can bring many different flavors and textures to the table. They come in a variety of vibrant colors, but their classic deep rouge is our favorite. Like other purple-hued foods (e.g. blueberries, blackberries, red onion), beets contain certain antioxidants (specifically flavonoids), which may help reduce the risk of some chronic illnesses. Beets are also high in nitrate and potassium, making this root vegetable a smart choice for those aiming to keep their blood pressure in check. They are also a great source of iron, an essential element that is particularly important to anyone who is anemic.
Beyond the health perks of beets, oranges pack a big punch of Vitamin C, which is great for the immune system, as well as fiber. The licorice-laced fennel bulb and its delicate leaves are also loaded with fiber. Fennel is a good source of potassium, which is essential for proper kidney function as well as blood pressure levels, and manganese, which plays an important role in bone development.
The three main components in this salad are each low in calories and virtually fat free. When combined and tossed in a light dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar and honey, these simple ingredients transform into something exciting and flavorful. When you make the dressing, squeeze some of the juice from the leftover orange pulp into the bowl for an added zing. Serve this salad alongside a warm roast dinner or comforting stew, or toss in some toasted, whole-grain croutons for a wintery version of panzanella. Regardless of how the dish is served, the bright and beautiful flavors involved will make you see winter produce in a whole new light.
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5ml) red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon (5ml) honey
1 orange, zested, peeled, and segmented
1 large beet, peeled and thinly sliced (either with a knife or on a mandolin)
1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced (either with a knife or on a mandolin), plus fennel fronds (leaves)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, honey, and orange zest together until combined.
- Gently toss orange segments, beet and fennel slices with dressing.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Top salad with reserved fennel fronds (leaves) and serve immediately.
- Pro Tip: Alternatively, store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 day.