Last year, at one of the last Spenard farmer’s markets of the season, I came across a vendor with the most incredibly sweet and tender beets. As I was picking through the beautiful bunches of ruby roots, the farmer came over and told me to ‘pick a good one’, because they were the last of his crop. I made my selection and hurried home, beet tops overflowing my bags. I hadn’t even unpacked all of my purchases before the beets were peeled and into the boiling water, and a fresh batch of tofu mayo was whirring away in the blender. The resulting beet salad was so good that after lunch I walked directly back to the farmer’s market and bought every last beet he had.
The farmer seemed very amused by my return and commented that ten years ago you couldn’t give a beet or a turnip away, but in the last couple of years he’s noticed a return to healthy eating and an appreciation for some of the lesser loved veggies. Hurray! Looks like I’m going to have to start getting to the market a little earlier!
It’s not quite beet season yet, but as you’ve seen in my previous posts, that hasn’t stopped me. I’m getting ready for their arrival – training for beet season by working through my collections of soups, dips, salads and more so that I’m in top form when the sweet roots finally hit the farm stand. Surely other people do this. No?
[recipe title=”Beet Salad ” servings=”8 cups, 12-16 servings ” time=”1 hour ” difficulty=”easy”]
4 medium beets, peeled and cut into quarters
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2″ lengths
~30 dried plums, pitted and quartered
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 recipe Tangy Tofu Mayo
4-5 garlic cloves, pressed
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425 F. Roast beets and carrots in a covered pan for 35 minutes or until they are just able to be pierced with a fork, but still firm. Allow to cool. Grate beets and carrots in a food processor fitted with shredding blade. In a large mixing bowl combine shredded root veggies and all other ingredients. Season with salt to taste!
- I often use all beets instead of a mix of beets and carrots. The recipe works well either way
- You can boil the beets and carrots instead of roasting. I don’t really notice a difference in taste.
- This recipe is fantastic with dates instead of dried plums, use whichever you have on hand.
Here is the thick and delicious tofu mayo, adapted from a version I learned in Delisa’s workshop. Thanks Delisa!
[recipe title=”Tangy Tofu Mayo” servings=” ” time=”5 min” difficulty=”easy”]
1 box Mori-Nu silken tofu
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
10 whole raw cashews
1 teaspoon Vegg powder (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender!
- If you are using table salt, use ~3/4 teaspoon
- Vegg powder generates a smoother, more rounded flavor. I wouldn’t quite say it’s eggy, though that’s certainly the intent of the product. If you omit the Vegg powder, the mayo will be a little bit sharper and you may prefer decreasing the other spices slightly, or adding a teaspoon or two of agave or date paste to decrease the sharpness. I like it both ways – with Vegg, and as written without the Vegg, but feel free to experiment!
Illustration by K. Cooney, June 2014.