>> Sunday, January 18
Another of my favorite travel salads, this one was first shown to me last winter at Sekier, a tiny Slovak alternative living community. I sat in the main room on a little wooden stool with Lucka and prepared a huge bowl of it for dinner one night, slowly washing each beet and carrot by hand in a little metal tub, grating until my arm was sore, and slowly roasting nthe sunflower seeds by the woodstove. Of course, preparing this salad in an average kitchen is not as work-intensive, and you probably have a sharper grater than Sekier did. Fear not, it's actually unbelievably simple. Still, each time I make it, I remember that slow afternoon and I like to take my time and savor the process, knowing this has been a staple for eastern europeans for centuries in winter months, when the last stored vegetables are all root crops from the cellar.
Slovakian Beetroot Salad (this version serves 4)
This is a healthy raw salad with a fresh, robust flavor. The dressing is only there to accentuate the flavors of the vegetables, and is low-fat as well.
- 2 large beets (3-4 small), washed and with the greens removed (and saved*!)
- 2-3 large carrots, washed
- juice of 1/2 lemon (plus more to taste if desired)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- garlic (optional)
- 1 tbsp your choice of salad oil
- 3/4 cup (+/-) raw sunflower seeds
- any fresh herbs you have around: I reccomend dill for a nice tangy flavor
- First, heat a skillet on the stove over medium-low flame and add the sunflower seeds. Stir occasionally until golden brown, remove from heat and set aside
- With a large-sized grater, grate carrots and beets** into a bowl together.
- Add lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, any herbs you have (finely chopped), the garlic if you want (finely chopped or pressed), and a drizzle of oil.
- Toss until well-combined, taste, and adjust any of the ingredients as neccesary.
- Chill (optional, and very nice. letting it sit for a few hours in the fridge brings the flavors out)
- Top with the roasted sunflower seeds and a sprig of any herb you have used in the recipe. Tastes great (and looks wonderful) with a dollop of plain soy yogurt or tahini whip.
*Beet greens are so delicious and good for you! you can chop them up and add them to the salad if you wish, or save to add to soup, eat steamed with lemon, etc.
**I have made it with both peeled and unpeeled beets, the choice is yours!