Sunday, August 2, 2009

Middle Eastern Spiced Beets, Orange, Red Onion, Mint and Pistachio Salad

Beets are a food that people are passionate about. You are either a beet lover or a beet hater. My husband is a beet lover and I have learned to love them to, but it did take a while. If you aren’t a beet lover because you had some bad childhood beet experience give beets another chance. They are so good for you, and the flavor is wonderful if they are treated properly.

I decided to go Middle Eastern today with the beets. I knew I wanted to use them roasted and in a salad, but didn’t decide on the middle eastern twist until I went in the kitchen and saw the ras el hanout looking at me from the spice drawer. There is a recipe for the spice blend on my blog with a link in the recipe.

This salad is a combination of things that make me think of Middle Eastern food. I have included spiced beets, oranges, red onion, fresh mint and chopped pistachios. The beets are high in anthocyanins. The oranges provide vitamin C. The red onion is packed with antioxidants and is reported to be good for your heart and well as preventing cancer. The pistachios provide healthy fat. Most herbs are full of flavonoids, so I assume that mint is no exception.

Middle Eastern Spiced Beets, Orange, Red Onion, Mint and Pistachio Salad
serves 4

Spiced Beet Ingredients:

2 ½ pounds of beets, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
2 teaspoons of ras el hanout
½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of champagne vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remaining salad ingredients:

1 orange, segmented and cut into bite sized pieces
½ red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of vinegar to soak the onion
½ cup of fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of pistachios, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put all the ingredients into a glass baking dish (if using metal increase the temperature to 350 degrees) and toss to combine the spices.

Roast the beets in an uncovered pan for 60 minutes and check the beets for tenderness with the tip of your paring knife. The exactly cooking time will depend on the size you cut the beets. Cook the beets until they are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.

Cool the beets and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. These beets can be served cold or hot. It serving hot you can reheat them in the microwave if you don’t want to make the salad.

Add the segmented orange to the cold beets. Soak the slivered onions in a little white vinegar to take the edge off the bite. After 15 minutes drain the vinegar from the onions and add them to the cold beet and orange.

Add the roughly chopped mint just before serving. Sprinkle the pistachios on the top of the salad and serve cold.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 196.73
Calories From Fat (18%) - 35.66

Total Fat - 4.21g
Saturated Fat - 0.59g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 330.95mg
Potassium - 1062.22mg
Total Carbohydrates - 37.59g
Fiber - 10.8g
Sugar - 19.47g
Protein - 6.34g


These beets have a lot of flavor and a terrific aroma from the ras el hanout. The beets could be served hot on their own, or as part of this salad.

The next time I make this salad I will add another orange. If you weren’t watching your fat as closely as we are the salad would be fine with a few more pistachios, and the inclusion of a few sliced black oil cured olives would take the salad over the top.

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