Thursday, April 1, 2010

Raw Beet, Apple and Jicama salad

If you want to eat "healthy" then I believe you must base your diet around fresh vegetables. I went through a "raw" phase a couple of years ago looking for recipes and ideas to use vegetables we would usually think to only eat cooked, but many, if not most vegetables can be eaten raw, including beets.

Beets are a root vegetable, and for me, can actually "act" more like a starch (potato, squash, etc.), which means they take a little longer to digest and hold a bit more water, like a carb....whatever....I warned you many times I'm a long story-teller.....

But let's be serious, a raw beet salad is better than a order of french fries anyday......

Another root vegetable that I almost forgot about, until I re-Certed (it was served at the lunch buffet) was jicama. Jicama....thank goodness I shop the Mexican market regularly, this vegetable is no stranger to's just that with so many food choices, where does one start?

In my opinion, raw beets, shredded raw beets, lend themselves very well with Asian type salad dressing, as well as dressings with a Latin flair (lime / chili / jalapeno). And adding a protein to those flavors calls for something like shrimp, or my opinion.....chicken? Of course, what does not go with chicken?

So....I was shopping for some greens the other day, to add to some soup....Mark and I went down to our local Mexican market and to my surprise, Mi Pueblo did not carry anything but spinach. No chard (shocking), no collard greens (I didn't expect collard greens, so no surprise there), no kale (again, I didn't expect kale, of any sort)....just spinach. Well, I didn't want spinach.....I looked around and the only other choice was beets......with their greens! Beet greens! I love, love, love beet greens! The problem is I love beet greens more than I love beets! But I bought them anyway, knowing I would find something to do with those beets....the greens? Those were headed straight for my Smokey, Hot, Split Pea Soup with Chorizo!

If you want to prepare and eat fresh salads, then you must own an efficient, and sharp (!), mandoline or vegetable shredder (a food processor works great btw), I own a, I bought at a Japanese market and works great for carrot, broccoli, beets, jicama, and other similarly dense veggies( pictured below), another is a "V-slicer" mandoline by OXO...I have another hand grater I like, a great veggie peeler that I use for lots of stuff, including shredding cabbage.....and I rarely use my food processor, but it's always an option....
Enough already.....

Raw Beet, Apple and Jicama Salad

2 lg or 4 small red beets, (really the color doesn't matter, use gold if you want, but peel the skin off first with a vegetable peeler)
1 lg or 2 small sweet apples, like fuji, or try tart! Whatever you like!
1 small jicama (about 3-4 inches in diameter...not the huge 6-8 inche size, lol)
1 carrot

1 - 4 jalapenos (guess how many I used? Yep, 4! top picture)

1/2 bunch cilantro

fresh ginger (1-2 tbl)
garlic (1-2 cloves, crushed)
juice of one lemon OR rice wine vinegar (about 1-2 tbl)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tbl olive oil
Sarachi sauce, 1-2 teaspoons (totally optional! this will add alot of heat!)
Sugar to taste....start with 1 teaspoon and add 1 tespoon at a time until you get the flavor you like ( you can use any other kind of sweetner you feel comfortable with.....honey, Stevia, splenda....whatever! Make the recipe yours!)

SALT and I have to mention this every time? It's called "seasoning your food", lol!

Taste your food, is it missing something? What? Learn to adjust seasoning by tasting your food! Taste for texture (enough oil?). Salt, (of course, but not too much). Acid? Vinegar, lemon, etc. Sweetness? (again, add in your favorite sweetner)

Add in cooked pork tenderloin, shredded roasted chicken, or grilled prawns.

Also, I chose to include a fresh fruit, the apple, instead of a dried fruit, but instead of apple, raisins, dates, pineapple, etc would work just as well.


Another salad I use jicama in was a simple version of my friend Gayle's Ginger and Lemon Apple Salad

Shredded apple

shredded jicama

juice of about 2 inches of fresh ginger

juice of one lemon

chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds)

dried blueberries, or any other dried fruit optional

(a little pinch of salt is a bonus, lol)


ljbarron said...

Looks and sounds delish Tracy! we love beets. I don't know that I have ever seen jicama here in Alberta. I ate it for the first time at RKC and really liked it. I will have to have a good look again. thanks for the pictures so I know what to look for.
My husband thinks you should have a Camp Tracy combining cooking lessons and KB classes for a week at a time....and of course i would love to go to that camp:)

Tracy Reifkind said...


Are you kidding? I want to go to Camp Leslie, lol! When it comes to food and cooking you've got me beat for sure.

Like my BBF Fawn, I have the highest respect for those of you that have spent time in the food profession.

Funny that you remember the jicama at the RKC lunch buffet! Are there no Hispanic markets in Alberta?

I'm really loving the jicama apple combination, it's a little late for pears, although that woud be good too. I have a feeling it's going to end up in alot of salsas this year.

My daughter in laws parents are from El Savador, and her mother likes mango that is not quite ripe, so it's a little tart but really firm...also the Vietnemese make a salad from green papaya, both would be good with jicama.

BTW if I were to have a kettlebell/cooking camp, no doubt, we would all lose weight and train our asses off!