I always feel so healthy when I eat salads. So I thought I would share with you this vibrant and crisp Apple Beet Carrot Slaw that just bursts with flavor – earthy sweetness from the beets, tart sweetness from the apples, and a fresh zing from the lemon. Although this Apple Beet Carrot Slaw may really only have three simple ingredients, it’s a whole lot of deliciousness. Often times bringing together just a few seasonal foods lets each component shine in its own beautiful way. This stunning red salad gets its color from raw grated beets, which get thrown in with some crunchy carrots and sweet-tart apples to make a crisp side dish.
One of the things I love about this salad is that my husband loves this salad, ha! My husband is one of the pickiest eaters I know. In his defense, he’s picky according to my standards, but probably not real life standards. He’s really easy to please when it comes to comfort food like Mac & Cheese, Fries, or even Cream of Mushroom Soup. However, when it comes to salads, unless it’s a Caesar Salad, it’s a bit of a challenge.
Well, I’m happy to say that this Apple Beet Carrot Slaw is another salad that has been husband approved. In fact, the first time I made this salad, Tanner devoured (yes, I just used the word “devoured” in a combination with a salad) the entire thing. The recipe comes from Joy McCarthy’s book Joyous Health. Joy has been my inspiration for many years. She was the first person who introduced me to the concept of holistic nutrition and inspired me to study nutrition a few years later. So naturally, I was super excited when I got the opportunity to write a couple of articles for her blog (which you can check out here and here).
But back to the salad. What are some of the things that bring this salad to a perfection?
Tips for Making the Best Apple Beet Carrot Slaw
Source fresh ingredients – the idea in this dish is to allow the vegetables do the talking with minimal intervention from you. No canned beets or frozen carrots. If you wanna take this salad to yet another level, try to source a local produce that is also organic. That vibrant taste, the scent that just smells like summer — there’s nothing quite like local organic food. Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past 24 hours and still contains all the nutrients. Also, if you do get organic produce, don’t peel it. Just wash it.
Use a mandolin (or a food processor) – believe it or not, but a mandolin (as opposed to a regular grater) makes this salad extra crunchy. So if you own a mandolin, use it. You’ll have your beets and carrots turned into matchsticks in mere minutes. If you don’t, you can practice your knife skills or shred the vegetables on a box grater, though it won’t have quite the same look or as much crunch. Mandolins really shine when you are making high volumes of food with aesthetically pleasing, uniform cuts.
Mix, but not all at once – if you’ve ever prepared fresh red beets, you know that they can stain … well, just about anything. So don’t mix all the produce at the same time or you’ll end up with red carrots and red apples. Surprisingly, the carrots retain their color quite well even after mixing with beets. However, the apples do not. So fold in the apples right before serving.
Wash the beets – another thing you can do to prevent the beets from bleeding their color through the salad is to wash them under cold running water. Personally, I love the red color of beets so I skip this step. But if presentation is important for you, I would recommend rinsing the beets before mixing them with the other ingredients.
Don’t skip the acid – lemon juice, lime juice, apple cider vinegar … any of these acids give the apples a tart kick that wakes this salad up. The acid also prevents the apples from browning when you make it ahead. Yes, you can make this salad ahead. It keeps well covered in the fridge for several days so it’s perfect for potlucks, parties, and holiday gatherings. Also, what’s more satisfying than looking into the fridge and knowing that you can grab an already made salad?
While this Apple Beet Carrot Salad features fall/winter-certifiable vegetables, its color and citrus-y flavor remind me of summer. It’s kind of like a cross between a slaw and a salad. It’s grounding, yet light.
So give it a try and let me know how you liked it. I’m certain that you’ll not be disappointed. And who knows – maybe even the pickiest eater in you family will turn into a vegetable-lover after sampling this salad.