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This is the time of year when you’re still sort of living off the fall harvests of roots veggies and apples. Summer hasn’t quite hit yet, so those things are always available, but not quite as good as they were a few months ago.

The weather is warm enough that we’re all ready for something fresh and bright to enjoy on the balcony, and this citrus-y beet salad does the trick.

A former beet hater myself (sorry!), this salad is inspired by the first time I ever made beets and didn’t think they tasted like dirt. The key? LOTS of citrus flavour to cut the earthy beet taste.

The salad is super-simple and can be made in minutes. It also tastes amazing even if it’s made ahead of time, so I highly recommend it if you’re inviting people over and need to get things ready in advance. It’s doubles as a great meal prep item that you can bring to work. (Maybe just avoid wearing a white shirt if you plan to eat at your desk; those beets are dangerous!)

I really like using my food processor for the beets; it makes things fast and takes a lot of the mess out of grating things. I use this guy.

Heads up for those of you who aren’t frequent beet eaters: if you eat enough beets, they can turn everything red. But don’t freak out the next day when you go to the bathroom; you are not dying, and it’s not blood. If you just can’t deal, yellow beets are delicious, too.

If you are a beet-lover, or someone in the process of learning to love beets (that’s me), I encourage you to keep these beautiful roots in your diet. Aside from being locally accessible during colder months, there are plenty of health benefits. Beets can fight inflammation, lower blood pressure, aid in detoxification, and pump more oxygen to your muscles and brain for better energy. Not convinced? Read more about beets.

For the sunflower seeds, I buy them raw so I can toast them myself. I do this because when you buy toasted nuts and seeds, they are often heated with unstable vegetable oils and low-quality table salt. It can lead to inflammation and make you feel pretty crummy. By toasting them at home, you know exactly what’s in them and can feel good about what you’re putting in your body.

I always believe in getting as many colours as possible on your plate, and beets, whether they’re red, golden, or candy cane-swirled, definitely help accomplish that. I love the way their unique hue mixes with the dark leafy kale and gently stains the apple bits in this dish. It’s one of those things that’s so beautiful in its simplicity and will impress without you spending all day in the kitchen.

Beet-apple-kale salad

Prep Time30 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: AIP, autoimmune paleo, beets, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, whole 30
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 large beets
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup kale packed
  • 1 lime juiced and zested
  • 1 grapefruit juiced
  • 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup raw shelled sunflower seeds optional; omit for AIP
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions

  • Peel and grate the beets. I do it in my food processor, which helps keep the red-stained mess to a minimum, but a box grater works, too.
  • Finely julienne the apple or, if you’re feeling lazy, grate it with the beets.
  • Cut the kale into ribbons.
  • Whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, grapefruit juice, olive oil and sea salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the beets, apple, and kale to the bowl and toss to coat.
  • Let the salad sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.
  • In the meantime, gently toast your sunflower seeds in a dry pan (or, if you’re like me, you may toast them in bulk and already have some handy).
  • Sprinkle the seeds on top and serve. This salad makes for great leftovers as well, since it tastes even better the next day.