matchstick beet salad

Matchstick Beet Salad

I'll admit that the day before Thanksgiving is kind of a weird time to post just one more Thanksgiving recipe, especially after spending weeks posting so much Thanksgiving stuff in advance. So sure, with only 24 hours to go (just enough time to start dry-brining! and—yikes!—I hope your turkey is defrosted!), you probably have your feast all planned out. But if you're giving your menu one last look, trying to figure out what's missing, might I suggest a bright, bold, colorful salad with plenty of seasonal beets?

Matchstick Beet Salad
Matchstick Beet Salad

This beet salad works great in the eleventh hour because it comes together very quickly with super simple ingredients—just cook and prep some beets, mix them together with some herbs and yogurt, and you've got a bold statement that totally shrieks Thanksgiving (I bet you didn't think a salad could shriek). It has the bright neon look of classic ambrosia salad, but without the marshmallows. And it's nice having a veggie-heavy dish that's not austere, but still light and refreshing enough to cleanse your palate between savory bites of turkey, gravy, and stuffing.

Matchstick Beet Salad
Matchstick Beet Salad

matchstick beet salad

yield: 6 side-servings
active time: 15 minutes
total time: 1 hour *
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  • 1 pound unpeeled beet roots (about 2 medium or 1 1/2 large)

  • 1/2 cup strained yogurt (Greek yogurt or labneh)

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

  • 1/4 cup minced red onion or shallot

  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint (split in half)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill (split in half)

  1. Submerge the beets in salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water starts to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until you can insert a butter knife into the center with no crunchiness (this may take less or more time, depending on their size and shape).

  2. Once the beets are done, strain them and let them cool. You can speed up the cooling process by putting them in an ice bath. Once they're cool, use a paper towel to slough off the skins.

  3. Cut the beets into a thick julienne, or allumette (matchsticks): slice the beets about 1/8 inch thick. Stack about 3 slices, and cut them into 1/8 inch strips.

  4. Combine the salt and yogurt, and taste, adjusting the seasoning to your preference.

  5. Stir together the beets with the seasoned yogurt, onion, half of the mint, and half of the dill.

  6. Place in a serving bowl and garnish with the other half of the mint and dill.

* You can buy vacuum-sealed, cooked and peeled beets to have this ready sooner. They're usually in the produce aisle by the tofu. If you're using these, simply skip the first and second steps. Just avoid pickled beets for this recipe (but not in general).

Matchstick Beet Salad

beet and chive blossom salad

Beet Salad

It's the time of year that purple and pink chive blossoms start poking up among the green chive stalks. If you have your own herb garden, you might already know that these blossoms are entirely edible, especially when they're small and tender. They taste just like chives, but with lovely botanical notes. And while they beautifully ornament over-the-top salads and soups, they also pull a lot of weight in simpler dishes, where they easily elevate the humblest ingredients. Take beets, for instance.

Chive Blossoms
Chive Blossom
Chives and Mint

Beets are as humble as it gets. Many people refuse to eat them, complaining that they taste like dirt. But I've never really understood this gripe, since tasting like the earth seems to be a good thing when it comes to French wine and grass-fed beef. And as you might expect of a veggie that supposedly tastes like dirt, beets aren't fancy in a delicate, high-maintenance way. Unlike other root vegetables, they hold up beautifully to over-cooking. Overcook a potato and you've got a mealy, water-logged nightmare. Overcook a beet, on the other hand, and you end up with a soft, almost gelatin-like finished product. Or just shred them and eat them raw! It doesn't matter. Beets just work.

Beets
Lemon
Beets
Beets

This beet salad recipe embraces the beet as a salt of the earth veggie, without doing too much to get in the way of their flavor. You simply boil them, slough off their skins, slice them into wedges, dress them in lemon, salt, pepper, oil, mint, and chives, garnish them with more chives, and stud the crevices with chive buds. It's as easy as picking up takeout, and as impressive as can be.

Beet salad

Beet and Chive Blossom Salad

yield: about 6 servings
active time: 15 minutes

total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
download a
PDF to print

  • 2 pounds trimmed and washed beets (about 6 beets, or 2 bunches)

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon mint chiffonade

  • 2 tablespoons bias-cut chives, divided in half

  • optional: 5 to 10 chive blossoms

  1. Place the beets in a medium saucepan and cover them with a few inches of salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until you can easily insert a butterknife into the center of the largest beet.

  2. Drain the beets and then shock them in an ice bath, or run some cold water over them for a minute or two. Rub the skins off the beets once they're cool enough to handle.

  3. Once the beets have chilled to room temperature or cooler, slice them in half and then slice each half into wedges.

  4. Toss the beets with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, mint chiffonade, and 1 tablespoon chives.

  5. Top with the chive blossoms and remaining 1 tablespoon chives.

Beet Salad