Something Different
Week of: April 8, 2013
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Beets Give Salad a French Accent

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

When I apprenticed at a three-star restaurant in Paris, working for free meant living like a poor student. By day’s end, too exhausted to cook for myself, I frequently ate dinner at Restaurant Des Beaux Arts, a cheap place near my apartment that looked like the bistro featured in every Hollywood movie about starving artists. For 60 francs (about $12 dollars in 1980), their prix fixe menu provided a filling three-course meal.

I would usually start with crudités, the French hors d’oeuvres of raw vegetables. At the Beaux Arts, it consisted of two generous, side-by-side mounds, one each of shredded beets and carrots, both glistening with a sharp vinaigrette dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil and garlic.

I have always loved beets and was delighted to discover this way of serving them as a kind of salad. Upon returning to the United States to work as a private chef and caterer, I was disappointed by the American aversion to eating beets. My clients usually rejected them in any form – roasted, pickled or raw, especially raw in salads – until the current fashion of pairing beets with goat cheese.

This salad shows another way to enjoy beets, this time without cheese. It is a combination of raw shredded beets, carrots and apple inspired by French crudités.

I particularly recommend this salad in the spring, since some consider beets, like grandma's old-fashioned tonic, good to eat to get our systems going after winter’s lethargy. This salad is so colorful and succulent that saying this is loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients seems almost crass.

Beet Salad

Beet, Carrot and Apple Salad

  • 1 medium beet (or 3/4 cup pre-shredded)
  • 2 medium carrots (or 3/4 cup pre-shredded)
  • 1 large peeled Granny Smith apple
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley or dill or combination
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

To shred beet, insert each hand in plastic sandwich bag to avoid staining hands. Peel beet using swivel blade vegetable peeler. Using coarse side of box grater, shred beet to get 3/4 cup. Save remaining beet for another use. Shred carrots and apple. Place shredded beets, carrots and apple in mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add walnuts and green herbs on top of mixed vegetables, and set bowl aside.

For dressing, in small bowl whisk together lemon juice and salt until salt dissolves. Add 3-4 grinds of pepper. Whisk in oil. Pour dressing over salad and mix until well combined and evenly dressed. Serve salad within 1 hour of combining with herbs and dressing.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 112 calories, 8 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 11 g carbohydrate,
2 g protein,  2 g dietary fiber, 330 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

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