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Mediterranean Cooking From the Garden with Linda Dalal Sawaya: Summer beet salad

posted on: Sep 16, 2015

Another excellent summer salad from Alice’s Kitchen: Traditional Lebanese Cooking is my mother’s Lebanese beet salad with a slight twist on the beets: I use a mixture of golden and red beets, creating gorgeous color! Here’s a photo of the beets used: gold and red—prior to boiling them.

organic raw red and gold beets from my garden © linda dalal sawaya 2015

Mama’s recipe that I grew up eating used typical red beets, but I began experimenting using a mix of chioggia beets (with red stripes) or this time, gold beets along with the red, since I hadn’t planted chioggia beets in my garden. The result: a very colorful and festive salad!

red and gold beets boiled, drained, and diced © linda dalal sawaya 2015

The gold and red beets are diced after boiling them in different pots and removing the outer skin after they cooled. I cooked the two colors separately so the gold beets would not get dyed before tossing the salad and reserved the colorful stock for soups.

Lebanese beet salad in the making © linda dalal sawaya 2015

Chopped green onions (scallions) are added to the chopped beets in a cobalt bowl.

Then our sea salt, garlic, lemon, olive oil dressing tossed all together to create a truly festive and beautiful salad that can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. And it’s wonderful leftover should you have any!

Lebanese salatat schmandar © linda dalal sawaya 2015

I have done tastings of this salad at various local farmers’ markets and my food co-op; people love it as I reveal It’s very easy to make. The quintessential Lebanese dressing of garlic mashed into a paste with sea salt, lemon juice, and olive oil can be used on spinach, asparagus, broccoli, chard, as a dip for artichokes, on cabbage or potato salad and any other vegetables! You can see how the gold beets become dyed by the red beets. The garlic/lemon dressing provides a tart balance to the sweetness of beets.

Sahtein! and happy cooking!

—Linda Dalal Sawaya is a Portland artist, cook, Master Gardener, daughter of Lebanese immigrants and author of Alice’s Kitchen: Traditional Lebanese Cooking.

Remember, as my mother Alice said, “If you make it with love, it will be delicious!”

story and photos © linda dalal sawaya 2015