Tangy Mandarin, Beet, and Red Onion Salad
Beets! I just had to shout that from the rooftops. Beets and I have a very new, very loving relationship and I wish everyone cared for them as much as I do. I actually never ate beets growing up, and I distinctly remember one of the first times I ever had them and enjoyed them was at my fiance's (now husband's) family's home, and it could have quite possibly been the first time I was meeting them as well, which seems fitting. The food was phenomenal, but I really remember having a beet salad similar to this that totally blew my mind. I think there were blood oranges involved and some other delicious ingredients, and I may have not said a word the entire dinner but instead awkwardly shoved my face full of beets and red onions (onion breath anyone??). Needless to say beets were henceforth forever imprinted on my mind, and I love making this salad and eating off of it for days.
For many people, one of the major turn-offs for eating beets is the obvious red stains that accompany any surface that a beet touches. When I cook beets, my kitchen AND my hands seriously look like a scene out of Dexter (god, i miss that show). Red stains EVERYWHERE. I also really love the taste of roasted beets, but I don't love peeling them, and the lengthy time it can take to really get that sweet, roasted flavor. ENTER THE INSTANT POT. It really has drastically reduce both of those major complaints, at least for me. I don't have to peel them prior to cooking, they cook fairly quickly and to perfection, and the best part is the skin literally falls off at the touch once you've removed them from the Instant Pot. My method for skin removal involves two paper towels--you just grab the beet with your paper towels and lightly rub the skin off. Super easy, and it protects your hands for the most part from massive staining. It works like a charm!
With this recipe, if you don't have an Instant Pot (which I highly advise you to invest in!), then you can always just roast or steam yours the old fashioned way and it will taste just as great I'm sure of it. With the red onions, you want them fairly thinly sliced into rings, and then again sliced in half or quartered, depending on how much you love onions..which I do, so I keep them fairly large. You can also use just water in the bottom of the Instant Pot (so 1 cup of water, versus half and half water and OJ), the mandarin juice isn't entirely necessary, but I feel just really brings the flavors all together. Keep in mind the Instant Pot is really, really great at condensing flavors because of all that pressure...it's one amazing gadget, and if you don't have one you can find one here. Trust me on this one, order one and you won't be disappointed! (and no Instant Pot hasn't paid me to support them, I just really love miine!)
This salad is actually great served cold, and makes a large enough amount you can easily take this to a barbecue or get together and have plenty for everyone. It's got light, great, flavors, and the addition of sweet citrus and spicy red onion make it super addicting! Don't say I didn't warn ya.
4-5 large beets, ends removed
1/2 cup fresh squeezed mandarin juice
1/2 cup water or broth
5 mandarin orange, peeled and segmented
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced and cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed mandarin orange juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
- Place steamer insert into your Instant Pot bowl. Add 1/2 cup water or broth and 1/2 cup orange juice to bottom of pot.
- Place beets in steamer basket. Close and lock lid, making sure vent control is set to close.
- Set your pot to manual mode and set time for 25 minutes.
- Once beets are done cooking, release pressure and turn off pot, allowing beets to cool enough to handle.
- Once beets are cool, remove skins. Cut the beets into large diced pieces and place in a bowl.
- Combine orange segments and red onion slices with beets.
- In a small bowl, mix olive oil, fresh squeezed mandarin juice, and cilantro until well combined.
- Pour oil mixture over beet mixture and toss well to coat evenly. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.