Are you looking for a fresh, light side dish for your holiday table that isn’t another green salad? Are you looking for simple, seasonal recipes that feature winter produce? Do you just LOVE beets?
No? None of those apply? Then just trust me on this one.
I know beets are far from glamorous, and some of you may be wondering what fennel even is. –It’s not deformed celery. It’s it’s own thing, but these vegetables, in season right now, are totally underrated. Fennel’s sweet, licoricey bite goes very well with the earthy flavor of beets. Roast them up, add a bit of acidity in a dressing, and you have a gorgeous, incredibly healthy salad that goes down easy. And there’s only, like, five ingredients.
This recipe makes one serving as a full meal, or two small servings as a side dish. If you are using this as part of your holiday spread, I would suggest doubling or tripling the recipe. These veggies look like a lot when they’re raw, but they shrink significantly when you roast them. The serving in my bowl in these photos is almost the entire recipe.
Also, pine nuts are totally negotiable. I tried the salad with pine nuts, pepitas, slivered almonds, and even flaked coconut–and they were all delicious.
Beet and Fennel Salad with Simple Lemon Dressing
3 medium/large red beets
1 large fennel bulb
2 T pine nuts
2 T honey
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Thinly sliced orange, optional
Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel beets and cut into thin slices (about 3-4 mm thick). Clean fennel bulb and remove outer leaves if needed. Cut off any stems and leaves, then slice into wedges. Add your cut vegetables into two separate bowls (mixing them together could result in pink fennel), and add about a tablespoon of olive oil to each bowl. Sprinkle with salt and then toss both vegetables to coat thoroughly. Arrange vegetables on two different baking trays. Roasting time may differ for the vegetables, depending on how thick or thin they were cut, so you need to be able to remove one first if needed. Roast vegetables until slightly browned and soft all the way through (both can be eaten raw, so doneness is completely up to your preference). This took about 30 minutes for me. Remove from oven and let cool.
While vegetables are roasting, whisk honey, juice of 1/2 a lemon, and a bit more olive oil together, then taste and adjust if needed.
Toss roasted and cooled vegetables in dressing, and garnish with pine nuts and orange slices if desired. Serve hot or cold.