Savour this un-'beet'able gluten free apple and beet salad


I can’t believe spring is finally here, and here to stay! I’ve been waiting a long time for this, mostly because it means that my birthday is just around the corner (I'm smirking right now). Anyways! This month’s recipe is a pretty colorful one, which is bound to get you excited about everything! Not only is it flashy, but it adds a punch to your lunches or dinners! You can say it’s a pretty ‘upbeet’ recipe! Haha! Did you get that pun?! Yes, well if you did, you’ve guessed it, I’m using beets (beetroot) as a main vegetable in this recipe! Yeah, you know that gnarly thing that you’re not sure what to do with it, other than dye everything you own, accidentally of course, hot fuchsia. Other than making your obvious borscht (Ukrainian soup that is beet based), I thought of giving you a recipe that showcases this amazingly delicious and somewhat versatile root veg!

Up beet gemma correll cartoon

Sorry, now that I have this out of my system (AREN'T THEY CUTE), I can actually start the recipe!

Ingredients | Gluten Free Apple Beet Salad

  • 2 cups of diced boiled beets (traditional red ones are excellent, but feel free to gran the heirloom ones, they come in yellow!)
  • 2-3 sticks of celery, finely minced
  • green apple, finely chopped (you can take the peel off, but I like keeping it for a punch of colour)
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar (regular, or white)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 green onions, finely sliced
  • crumbled feta or goat’s cheese

Beet apple gluten free salad

Before you do anything else, other than turn some music on to dance to while you’re making this, you’re going to want to prep your beets. Usually, beets are sold in bags, much like potatoes, and they need some scrubbing before you use them as well. With a vegetable brush, or a clean (unused) toothbrush that you can use for other vegetables, gently scrub the beets in water. This will dislodge any dirt or unwanted things off the beets before you boil them.

Next, place your beets in a large pot of water (enough water to cover them), and boil them until a fork goes through easily. You will possibly need to add water to the pot while they are boiling, and if the smell bothers you, you can always change up the water throughout. It took me about 1h to boil 6 medium beets.

Now, once they are ready, you want to plunge them in/rinse them in very cold water. This will stop them from cooking more (basically, blanch them). Be careful not to damage the skin. Once they are cool enough to handle, grab a paper towel, or clean dishcloth, and gently rub them. The skin will pretty much slide off on it’s own! No need for peeling.

Gluten free apple beet salad by Zoe Desborough for the PumpUp Blog

There you go, fool-proof way of boiling beets for any other of your needs. You can always bake them  (wrap them in foil and plop them in the oven), but that will alter their taste slightly.

Now chop them up in bite size pieces.

To make the salad, in a big serving dish, mix in your 2 cups of chopped beets, 1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow the package for cooking instructions, but I usually go with a 1 cup quinoa and 1 ¾ cup water ratio… same for my brown rice). Add in your chopped celery, apples, and feta/goat cheese. Follow with your green onions and vinaigrette ingredients (balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice). Season with some salt and pepper to taste and there you have it!

This vegan apple beet salad is excellent as a side, or as a main itself, and will definitely make your taste buds dance with joy.

I will be attempting to make a purple hummus (beet based of course) in the next few weeks on my personal blog, so keep an eye out!

This vegan apple beet salad recipe is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp ( @zoedesborough) and on her blog