5 Ingredients or Fewer

Beet, Orange, and Black Olive Salad

December 11, 2014
3 Ratings
  • Serves 2 generously
Author Notes

This salad is a simple adaptation of one in Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty, which calls for the addition of Treviso, parsley, and orange flower water, all of which would be delicious additions here. I have added goat cheese to this salad as well, which I love, but blue cheese and other cheeses would be nice, too. Herbs such as tarragon, parsley, and chives would also add a touch of color and flavor.

A few thoughts: I like a 1:1 ratio of beets to orange, though feel free to adjust proportions to your liking. Also, although slicing makes for a pretty presentation, cubed beets and orange segments make for an easier and perhaps more enjoyable eating experience — slices almost require the use of a knife; cubes and segments do not.

Finally: Ottolenghi calls for boiling the beets, which I did for the first time in years, and which produced beets with a surprisingly light, pure flavor. I think roasting beets concentrates their flavor a bit more, rendering them sweeter, but if you haven't boiled beets in awhile, the method might be worth revisiting — it couldn't be simpler, too. Also, the quality of beet likely matters, too. If you are not getting beets in a CSA or from your home garden, try to buy them from a farmers' market. —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 2 to 5 beets, depending on the size
  • 1 shallot or half a small red onion
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (I like white balsamic)
  • good sea salt or kosher salt to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 to 3 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • handful of black, wrinkled olives, pitted and halved
  1. Place beets in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cook at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or even longer, depending on the size. Just cook them until they are tender — when you stick a small knife into each beet, it should go in smoothly. Let beets cool in the water, then drain them and peel them. Cut each beet into wedges or small cubes and place on a serving platter. Season all over with salt.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the shallot or onion and place in a small bowl. Cover with the vinegar. Season with a pinch of salt and sugar and set aside.
  3. Trim off the top and bases of the oranges, and with a sharp knife, slice down along the flesh of the orange to remove the peel. Remove the segments by slicing between the membranes. (Alternatively, cut the oranges into slices, then cut the slices again so that the oranges are in bite-size pieces.) Squeeze the membrane and any orange peels with flesh still attached over the bowl with the macerating shallots.
  4. Pour half of the shallot-vinegar-orange mixture over the beets and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter the oranges over top. Pour the remaining shallot mixture over top as well as the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter olives over top.
  5. Let sit a few minutes before serving. As you serve, spoon the dressing pooling at the bottom of the plate over the beets and oranges. You could, of course, give everything a toss, just know that the beets will color everything red.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • icook.recipes
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • MtIdaho
  • selena
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

8 Reviews

MtIdaho January 30, 2017
I forgot to mention that I put the oranges and beets over a Romaine base, so that it has the crunch of a green salad.
Alexandra S. January 30, 2017
Nice! I love this idea.
MtIdaho January 30, 2017
We have a plethora of oranges from our tree in Baja, and last year I made this recipe for a large party, spread across a big platter with beet wedges on the top. It was beautiful and spectacular, and everyone loved it! I've also made it for just my husband and me with mandarin oranges here in Idaho... still very good.
Alexandra S. January 30, 2017
Oh wow, that sounds gorgeous! So happy to hear this.
icook.recipes December 18, 2014
What a colorful recipe! I'll try it tonight, or maybe add it to the Christmas salad recipes.
Alexandra S. December 18, 2014
Yes! Would look so pretty on the Christmas table!
selena December 13, 2014
What makes a "quality" beet, besides where you buy it?
Alexandra S. December 13, 2014
Well, it's hard to know really until you cook it. Of course you can peel them and eat them raw and decide if the beet is good then, but if your plan is to cook them, you won't know how good they are until you cook them. That said, when selecting beets, squeeze the root and make sure it feels firm, not spongy. Misshapen roots, too, might be a sign of struggle or "bolting" (according to Chez Panisse Vegetables), which might cause the beet to be bitter. Also, apparently size doesn't matter — large beets can be as sweet and tender as small beets — but I would shy away from montrosities if you can. I bought a few extremely large beets from my grocery store — it was all they had — and they really were not very tasty. Hope that helps!