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Transition Dishes from Winter to Summer

Although beets and other root vegetables are often associated with winter meals, beets are also a perfect vegetable for springtime—which inspired me to offer today’s new recipe for Beet Salad with Roasted Pistachios.

Although the southeast is spectacularly beautiful now, with azaleas and flowering trees in full bloom everywhere, we still have some nights dipping into the mid-30s. Windy days make for chilly walks when it’s 60 degrees. The next day surprises us with 82 degrees (perfection!) which is why I think this is an excellent time for transition dishes. Beet salad is wonderful in the role.

This is an easy recipe, and the beets can be cooked in an Instant Pot. It’s also totally fine to steam them on the stove in a standard pot. You could also roast the beets, but that takes more time. And once the weather warms, I try to avoid roasting or baking because the oven overheats the house.

You can serve this salad or side dish warm or at room temperature, depending on the weather. I like it just as the recipe is written, but you can also serve this dish over some soft greens such as butter lettuce.

Beets are a little bit heating, according to Ayurveda. So, if it’s an especially hot day, fresh cilantro and/or mint will help balance this aspect. The beets’ heaviness is grounding for vata, which is a plus any time of year. The nuts add a flavor burst and crunch that propel the beets from ordinary veggies to a dish will elicit responses of “yum” from your guests!

Enjoy this Beet Salad with Roasted Pistachios during these amazing days of spring and throughout the year!




For Instant Pot or Standard Pot

If you’re cooking gold and red beets, it’s ideal to cook them in separate batches to preserve their colors.

Preparation Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour (30 minutes active)
Serves 4 to 6

For the beets
4 large or 6 small to medium beets, red, gold, or both
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons and up to ¼ cup minced cilantro, mint, and/or fresh dill

For the nuts
½ tablespoon avocado oil
½ cup raw pistachio nuts
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Scrub the beets and pare off the roots. Depending on the size, cut the beets into halves or quarters.

2. Instant Pot: Add 2 cups water into the steel inner pot and place a steamer basket or the wire rack inside the pot. Place the beets in the basket or on top of the rack. Secure the lid and cook for 10 minutes on the steam setting/low pressure for small to medium beets and 15 minutes for larger beets. Let the steam release naturally, or if you wish, open the value for quick release. After checking to ensure the beets are soft, move them to a dish to cool for 10 minutes before rubbing off the skins.

Standard Pot:  Add two cups of water to a medium-size saucepan or soup pot and place a footed steamer in the water. Place the beets on the steamer, cover, and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Periodically pierce the beets with a fork to check for tenderness. When the beets are completely soft, move them to a dish to cool 10 minutes before rubbing off the skins.

3. Prepare the nuts: Preheat the oven to 350°F. While the beets are cooking, place all the ingredients for the nuts into a small mixing bowl and toss with wooden spoon or spatula. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the nuts across the sheet. Roast the nuts for 8 to 10 minutes until they’re lightly browned. (Be careful not to burn them; nuts burn easily.) Set the roasted nuts aside to let them cool.

4. Wash and chop the herbs and set aside. Once the beets are tender and cooled, remove their skins. You may wish to cut the beets into bite-sized pieces. Place the beets in a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, lime, and salt, and gently toss. Add the herbs and nuts, and toss again. Taste for salt and serve.

Cilantro and mint are especially good for cooling pitta.

Kapha may want to replace olive oil with sunflower oil when tossing the beets. You can also add a dash of paprika to the nut spices.

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