The hot pink beet and apple salad from Around the World in 120 Salads is an easy and refreshing Swedish-style chopped salad.
The winner of the Ideas Post #60 recipe vote a few weeks ago, this hot pink beet and apple salad makes for a hearty weeknight dinner salad. I made it “on time” in order to post it a few days after the vote, but I’ve let myself get caught up in an internal debate about how best to organize all my blog photos – I couldn’t figure out which way I wanted to sync them so that I can easily access them across any device and have them saved in case of some tragedy, and so while I was figuring that all out, I sort of let my photo organizing lag way behind. That, and Lightroom seems to have gotten on a weird kick where it eats my photos instead of importing them. Empty folders, Bermuda triangle-style vanishing photos… = happy I don’t auto-delete photos off my memory card upon import.
I’m pretty sure I’ve always liked beets – this is not a new vegetable obsession for me in the same way that I suddenly adore Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Grated raw beets, yes please. Spiralized roasted beets, even better. Borscht, absolutely. Russian or Scandinavian-style creamy beet salad with dill, like this one? I will happily eat bowlfuls of it.
You start with boiling raw whole beets (with their skins still on) for about an hour until they are tender. It’s completely fine to do this step a day or two before, or to skip this step entirely and use pre-cooked beets you’ve purchased (as long as they aren’t packed in vinegar). You’ll dice the cooked beets into small, uniform-ish bite-sized pieces, taking care not to stain yourself or anything in your house in the process with the beet juice.
After cooking the beets, all the remains in terms of prep work is dicing to tart green apples, roughly chopping 3/4 cup of tangy pickles, finely chopping a shallot and a bit of fresh dill, and together with a tablespoon of capers, stirring everything into a sour cream-based dressing. As written in Around the World in 120 Salads, the dressing calls for a mix of sour cream, mayo, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I’m not a mayo fan, so I used plain Greek yogurt (nonfat, but 2% or whole would also work) in its place.
With all the tangy/sour ingredients in this hot pink beet and apple salad, you might expect the sour flavors to dominate or curdle the creamy dressing, but they don’t. Everything is really well balanced, yielding a refreshing salad that turns hot pink in color when you toss everything together with the cooked beets. As with every beet salad I’ve encountered, this one pairs really well with hard boiled eggs, smoked fish, and/or a mild, nutty cheese.
Hot Pink Beet and Apple Salad
To shave off most of the time on this recipe, you can use pre-cooked beets, just make sure they aren't the kind packed in vinegar.
- 1 pound raw beets
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon small capers rinsed well
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- 3/4 cup pickles roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill finely chopped, plus a little for garnish
- 2 medium crisp Granny Smith apples
- Kosher salt
- black pepper freshly ground
- 1 handful walnuts chopped, for garnish
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a medium pan (enough to cover the beets when you add them). Once the water boils, add the whole, unpeeled beets and cook about 1 hour, or until tender.
- While the beets are cooking, prep the dressing. In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream and mayo or Greek yogurt. Add the cider vinegar. Rinse the capers well, shake off any remaining liquid, and add them to the dressing. Chop the shallot, pickles, and dill, and add them to the dressing. Stir everything together.
- Remove the beets and let them cool about 15 minutes. Rub off the skins and trim the top and base of each beet. Cut the beets into small evenly-sized cubes and add to the serving bowl.
Core the apples (leave the skin on) and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Add the apple pieces to the serving bowl.
Season with salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve garnished with chopped walnuts and additional fresh dill, if desired.
This salad is delicious and refreshing on its own, but also tastes great with a sliced hard-boiled egg and/or cheese.