Sweet and colourful, beets will certainly brighten up any meal! Their brilliant red hue comes from pigments called anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants studied for their disease-prevention potential. Beets, arugula, and celery are also good sources of dietary nitrates, which have been linked to improved athletic performance and blood pressure regulation.
This beet and arugula salad is great anytime, but terrific when fresh beets and apples are in season. It takes a little longer to prepare than my typical salads, but if you cook the beets in advance it is pretty quick to put together.
- 2 lbs. beets, cooked and peeled (about 4 cups cut up)
- 3 green onions, minced (or about 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion)
- ½ cup raisins
- 4 cups of young arugula leaves
- 2 firm apples
- 1 cup celery, chopped (about 2 large stalks)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Scrub the beets, wrap in foil and bake on a cookie sheet or in a pan at 400° for 30 minutes (this may take longer depending on the size of the beets). Beets will be tender when their skin is wrinkled and slips off easily.
- While the beets are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Mix together the garlic, salt, curry, ginger, and rice vinegar. Then add the olive oil. Set aside.
- When the beets are cooked, unwrap and place them on a plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel, slice in half, and then into wedges. Toss them with 2-3 tbsp. of the curry dressing and half of the green onions. Set this mixture aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. (You can do this the night before serving.)
- Quarter the apples and slice them into thin pieces (size of sliced mushrooms). Combine the apples with the celery and raisins, and the rest of the green onions and dressing.
- To serve, arrange the beets on the arugula, and spoon the celery/apple mixture on top. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Alternatively, you can gently mix all ingredients together (I think this method works better, and still looks o.k. — if you don’t mind beet-tinted apples and arugula – pictured below).
Makes EIGHT 1/2-Cup Servings
This salad is tremendously nutritious! Beyond beets, most other ingredients have potential health benefits, for example . . ..
- Arugula is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables contain several compounds that researchers are investigating for their disease-fighting potential: these include glucosinolates, crambene, indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates. Arugula is also a good source of dietary nitrates, which have been shown to help lower blood pressure and benefit athletic performance.
- Walnuts are a good source of healthy fats, and contain more of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than other nuts. Eating walnuts has been associated with lowering cholesterol, reducing breast cancer risk (in mice), helping control blood sugar, and reducing the risk of diabetes.
- Apples are a good source of fiber, and rich in antioxidants and other protective compounds. Don’t peel your apples, because you’re throwing away important nutrients. Not only does the peel account for about 75% of an apple’s dietary fiber, but also about two-thirds of an apple’s antioxidants are found in its peel. In addition, apple peels contain biologically active components with anticancer effects called triterpenoids. Ursolic acid is another protective compound in apple peels that might prevent muscle atrophy associated with aging and help control blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and possibly increase brown fat. Read more about the health benefits of apples here.
- Green Onions are rich in protective phytochemicals. The sulfur compounds — which give onions their pungent taste and smell — help lower blood cholesterol and protect arteries. Onions are one of the richest dietary sources of flavonoids, especially quercetin, which is linked to reduced muscle damage after exercise, and reduced chronic inflammation that can trigger heart disease and some cancers.
Nutrition per 1/2 cup serving
- 170 calories
- 3 g protein
- 23 g carbohydrates
- 9 g fat (<1 g sat),
- 0 mg cholesterol
- 4 g fiber
- 150 mg sodium
- 500 mg potassium
- 60 mg calcium
- 40 mg magnesium
More Salads & Side Dishes
- Apple Arugula Salad with Carrots & Cabbage
- Beets & Arugula in a Curry Vinaigrette
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Orzo with Kale, Artichokes, and Chickpeas
- Rice Noodle Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
- Roasted Potato Salad with Vegetables
- Sesame Noodles with Seasonal Vegetables
- Simple Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad
Recipe adapted from Food for Thought: Healing Foods to Savor, by Sheila Kealey and Vicky Newman with Susan Faerber. California: Regents of the University of California, 2012.