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Belly Dance Beet Salad

My dad is of Lebanese heritage, and since I was a little girl, I’ve always been fascinated by belly dancers. The costumes! The finer cymbals! The glittery, shimmery jewels that accentuate the way they move. I’ve even taken belly dancing classes at different times throughout my life. I’ve never gotten very good at it, but it’s still super fun.

Turns out, the Western form of belly dancing that most of us have seen – with gauzy costumes and jangling jewelry – is based on the Ghawazi dancers of Egypt. The Arabic word “ghawazi” means “conqueror,” a reference to the way the dancer conquered the heart of her audience. It makes me wonder: If the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach, doesn’t Belly Dance Beet Salad double our heart-winning powers? This salad is exotic, but not fussy or too challenging. The flavors make sense but are also magically unexpected. I like to eat it at room temperature, but you can dance with it the way you like.

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Belly Dance Beet Salad

Serves 2-4 | Prep 15 minutes | Cook 1 hour

Ingredients:
2 bunches beets (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
juice of 1/2 large orange (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon salt
a few shakes of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 scallions, white and green, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Wash the beets, and cut off the stem and root ends – no need to peel them! Cut the beets in half and toss with melted coconut oil. Roast for about 45-60 minutes, until tender.

3. To toast the pistachios, spread them in a single layer on the other baking sheet and add to the oven during the last 7-10 minutes of roasting the beets. Allow them to cool, then coarsely chop them.

4. While the beets and pistachios are roasting, whisk the orange juice, vinegar, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisking continuously, drizzle in the olive oil and set the dressing aside.

5. When the beets are done, allow them to cool enough to handle and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. (PRO TIP: Use the parchment paper from the baking sheet on top of your cutting board for easier cleanup.) Place the beets in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Add the scallions and pistachios and toss well with two wooden spoons. Allow to cool to room temperature before eating. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.

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Don’t toss the tops!

Wash the beet tops thoroughly to remove grit, then chop and throw in a pan with a little water and steam ’til tender. Toss with ghee or coconut oil, salt, pepper, and a clove of crushed garlic. Eat as a bed of awesomeness under the room temperature beet salad!

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35 Responses to “Belly Dance Beet Salad”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Just found your blog …LOVE IT and luv the beet salad … yummmmm …!!!
    good stuff all over your blog :) … and I read about your hypothyroid situation – I have fought that one for the past 10 years (synthyroid 150mcg and Cytomel 25mcg x 2-3) – you will figure out what works best for you, but sounds like you are already on that road !!

  2. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hi, Elizabeth! Glad you like the blog! Yes, thyroid is a total pain, but it seems to be getting sorted out. I'm on 112mdg right now, but might go a little higher still — next check-in with endo is in August.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do you slice the beets before or after you roast them?

  4. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    I recommend roasting the beets either whole or just cut in half so they don't get too dry… then slice them after you're finished roasting.

  5. Dallas says:

    That beet salad was GENIUS. We are STILL talking about it. Yum. And yum again.

    Dallas

  6. Anonymous says:

    Boy, I've made this for two parties and twice just for myself. I absolutely love it! Thank-you!
    Francine

  7. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Anonymous… so glad you like it. Thanks for letting me know!

  8. Anonymous says:

    This was just posted on chowstalker.com a few days ago, so we gave it a try. DELISH! Husband made it last night while I was at the gym. The beets could have roasted a little bit longer, as I like my veggies really tender, but the flavor was so nice. We paired it with homemade gyro meat from stuffimakemyhusband.blogspot.com. I'm having leftovers for lunch right now. Thanks!! ~Karyn

  9. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Karyn–> How fun that your husband whipped this up while you were working out. WIN! Glad you liked it! I saw that homemade gyro recipe, too… definitely want to try that one!

  10. Lydia says:

    I finally got around to making this beet dish. WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG? God. It was amazing. Thank you for the recipe!

  11. Mel says:

    And now I’m thinking, “Why haven’t I made this since last year?” Back to the kitchen with me!

  12. Kendall says:

    Mel-
    I found your site about two weeks ago, have been gradually working my way through a bunch of the recipes. So many are so delicious! thank you!
    Finally commenting because had the best breakfast in a while thanks to this recipe…
    I sauteed the beet greens w/ a slice of ham and a little bit of onion (left over from making the salad), then threw the cover on the pan after putting two eggs in to poach. put all of that on a plate (which probably would have still been good on it’s own, but awfully similar to what I eat most mornings) and then topped it with some of the beet salad (and a definite drizzle of the dressing!). SO GOOD. thank you for the inspiration and reminding me to use the greens!

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! I’m glad you made magic with the beet tops. I had some this week, too, and they are SO good.

      I love your breakfast — it sounds super yummy and packed with power food. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes.

  13. Amy Roberts says:

    Just fixed this tonight! Excellent.

  14. MommyD says:

    Making this salad now (beets in the oven) and realized I’m out of Red Wine vinegar, any suggested substitutes? I have just about every other kind…

  15. MommyD says:

    Amazing…even my 2 and 4 year old were begging for seconds. WONDERFUL! Only changes were that I caramelized the onions because we didn’t have spring sweet onions, and used cider vinegar (thanks for the suggestion) because I was out of red wine. mmmmm….good! Thanks again for ANOTHER delicious meal!

  16. Inklid says:

    This is the first preparation of beets I’ve ever liked! I sliced the beets about 1/2 inch thick and grilled them, otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. The orange and pistachio perfectly compliment the grilled beets. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Alexis says:

    balsamic vinegar worked awesomly :D

  18. Stephanie says:

    This is sooo good. Made it exactly like the recipe the first time except used pecans. This time I’m doubling it. YUMMY!

  19. Andria Miller says:

    This is really good! But the volume of dressing seems excessive and I misread the directions only using 1/4 cup oil .
    Instead of 28 oz of beets I have 24 oz not sure that would make a big difference, though.

    Oh we’ll, I will save the extra dressing for salad, it’s yummy!

  20. Alexis says:

    This has been my go to potluck salad for a while now! I up the spices and add in some sweet potatoes, roasted garlic and thai red chilli paste. Last week I added slices of blood orange.

    -thanks!

  21. Heidi says:

    Question: do you roast beets if using canned?

    Just stumbled onto this and a few other older recipes – looks so tasty.

  22. Jayne says:

    What a great salad, so simple, yet so delicious. Can’t wait to have it again!

  23. Krista says:

    I don’t have any pistachios. I do have walnuts, hazelnuts,pine nuts, almonds & pecans. Which would you recommend?

    As a side note, a few months ago I went paleo. I just started my first whole30 a couple days ago. I have been making good use of your well fed cookbook! It’s definitely my favourite, I’ve been toting it around to cook for other (non paleo) people & we have all been enjoying your recipes!!

  24. Krista says:

    I went with the pine nuts, added in the cumin & chopped the beets into chunks. I opted for apple cider vinegar (I didn’t have the red wine vinegar). Served it on a bed of sautéed beet greens with fresh local sausage on the side. Sooooo delicious! My husband (who’s not a fan of beets) and my 2 year old enjoyed it as well.

  25. Brandy says:

    So Google is starting to recognize this in their type ahead feature when you enter belly dance beet… pretty cool, and my new favorite thing to eat.

    I put it over spinach leaves and add some (non paleo) goat cheese crumbles. Beets + goat cheese you can not go wrong. (unless you absolutely cannot eat any dairy, then you can, but it tastes sooooooooo good. (typing with beet stained fingers)

  26. Melindy says:

    I made these last night. I used 1/4 cup of oil and it was great. Also cooked up the greens. Didn’t have nuts so just left them out. Also used a mix of yellow and red beets. I like the taste of the red better, but the yellow are not as messy.

    My husband loves all the veggies that we are eating on the Whole 30. And I love that you have so many great recipes to make it easy as well as delicious!

  27. Melindy says:

    Ya, they looked pretty the first night, but when I had them for breakfast (still yum!) the red kind of dyed them. Bought both of your books today. Really looking forward to making more delicious meals.

  28. […] brought the Belly Dance Beat Salad. I roasted two pounds of beets then realized the recipe feeds four and I needed to feed about ten. […]

  29. Danielle B. says:

    Made it with golden beets….so good! Next time I’d do golden AND red for extra color. Awesome recipe!!!!

  30. […] Beet and Pistachio Salad with Sauteed Beet Greens (22 g Protein, 611 Calories).  Adapted from recipe here. […]

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