Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beet Slaw

Here's the beet slaw that I made for today's Austin Food Blogger Alliance pot luck gathering. (It was great to see everyone!) I realized as I was making it, this recipe can also be an idea for our project with the Capital Area Food Bank Hunger Awareness blogger challenge -- creating nutritious meals/dishes on very limited income.

The recipe originally ran in the Austin American-Statesman sometime earlier this spring; you can view the recipe here, though I can't locate the original article it ran with, in what seems like back in March. I've made it a couple times, and tweaked it a bit each time. This is my latest rendition. If you follow the original that's in the Statesman, I think it makes WAY too much dressing for the quantity of beets given; this is an easy recipe to approximate quantities though -- it doesn't have to be precise.
Beet Slaw
2 - 3 carrots, peeled (thicker carrots are easier to grate)
1 bulb fennel, outer layer removed
4 medium to large (tennis ball sized) raw beets, peeled
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced & blanched* (blanching optional, but it removes the bite of the onion) or 2 shallots
2 Tbls. Dijon mustard
1 lemon, zested** & juiced
3 Tbls. apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
honey, agave nectar or sugar to taste (I used about a tablespoon of agave)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

* To blanch, boil a saucepan of water; add sliced onions for 30 seconds; drain & run cold water over them. Shake excess water off (or squeeze them to get rid of the water).
** The zest is the colored part of the citrus peel -- where all the oils are. Zesting tools will strip the colored part off, while leaving the bitter, white pith. A carrot peeler will work for this too; make strips of the zest, and then chop very finely with a knife.

-- Grate the carrots, fennel, & beets; easiest done in food processor, but a box grater will work fine too. Place in a large bowl & add blanched onions.
-- In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the mustard, lemon zest and juice, cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and honey. Whisk well to combine and to dissolve the salt and granulated sugar, if using in place of honey/agave (salt and sugar won't dissolve once oil has been added).
-- Add the oil (canola, vegetable, grapeseed oil are fine too) and whisk really well to combine; pour over beets and toss well.
-- Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, so the flavors can meld.

This slaw is also gluten free, vegan, and except for the blanched onions, a raw foods dish. It keeps in the fridge for several days, and is great for picnics or outdoor gatherings because there is no mayonnaise to go bad in the Texas heat. The agave/honey/sugar is optional, but I have found that just a tablespoon helps sweeten the beets. And remember what they say about eating the rainbow? Before it's all combined together, and the beets dye everything magenta, it's a gorgeous looking shredded concoction!