Raw Fall Salad with Lemon-Pistachio Dukkah

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(Note: this post was originally published on September 15, 2019. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

A Fresh Take on Fall

Prepare to be wowed. This salad takes humble carrots and beets and turns them completely on their heads in a way that is so tasty and unexpected.

Usually when we think of fall veggies, we think of Thanksgiving-esque preparations like roasting and big fall flavors like rosemary and cranberry. This salad is a surprising twist on beets and carrots because it keeps them raw and pairs them with a bright, lemony dressing. It's a great way to transition from summer to fall, when these gorgeous veggies are at their prime but you're not quite ready for roasted root veggies yet.

Colorful fall salad on a platter

Beet Time!

Raw beets may sound a little bizarre, but I promise it works! The key is slicing them very thinly (I like to use a mandoline) and bathing them in an acidic marinade to help them soften. The combination of super-thin slices and an acidic marinade yields beets that are tender but not soft, and fresh but also a little bit hearty.

I've shown this salad with chioggia (a.k.a. candy cane) beets, which I absolutely love because of their amazing color. These came from my mom's garden! Yellow beets would work beautifully too, especially with red or purple carrots. Red beets would taste just as good, but they'll stain the carrots red, so I suggest staying with the lighter-colored options.

Pairing the earthy beets with sweet carrots, peppery arugula, and the really lemony marinade creates such interesting flavors.

Marinating beets and carrots

(Highly Non-Traditional) Dukkah

Although the veggies themselves are great, the true star of this dish is a magical, crunchy topping. It's a (very) non-traditional version of dukkah, which is an Egyptian nut and spice blend. Dukkah is usually made with hazelnuts and sesame seeds and sometimes pistachios, and packed with flavor from spices like cumin and coriander. There are plenty of great recipes online and it adds such a fun, crunchy twist on top of salads, grilled veggies, and proteins.

This dukkah is the same concept, but with a different flavor profile. It uses pistachios, sesame seeds, and lemon zest to bring complexity but also brightness to the fall veggies. I highly suggest making a double batch and putting it on everything from salads to roasted veggies to nourish bowls. It's crunchy, a bit decadent, and totally packed with flavor.

Colorful fall salad on a platter with spoonful of dukkah

Make It Work for YOU

Like most salads, this one is really amenable to customization. Feel free to use a combination of chioggia and yellow beets, and/or multi-colored carrots. I like the peppery bite that arugula adds, but any sort of hearty green would be lovely.

Do you know what else would be divine here? Some crumbled goat cheese. Or (gasp!) goat cheese rolled in dukkah. Crispy roasted chick peas would also be delicious, and would take this from side dish to dinner. Conversely or additionally, this salad could happily sit atop a bed of a Middle Eastern grain like farro. Doesn't that sound like a perfect, light dinner for a warm September evening?

Make-Ahead Tips

If you want to prep this salad ahead of time, you can do most of the work in advance, but not quite all of it. You can easily make the dukkah the day before; just keep it in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge. You can also marinate the veggies for as long as a couple hours, so feel free to get them going well before your guests arrive. Just don't toss in the greens until you're ready to serve (unless it's something super-hearty like kale, which could happily marinate for an hour or two). And don't add the dukkah until just before you're ready to serve, since you want it to stay nice and crunchy!

Colorful fall salad on a platter with flowers

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Lemon. You'll use the juice for the marinade and the zest for the dukkah.
  • Champagne vinegar. Or something else light in flavor and color, like red wine vinegar or white balsamic.
  • Honey. Use maple syrup to change up the flavors or for a vegan-friendly version.
  • Olive oil. Something really robust and flavorful.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Beets. Chioggia or yellow; see thoughts above on why red might not work great.
  • Carrots
  • Arugula
  • Roasted salted pistachios
  • Toasted sesame seeds. Toasted have more flavor; you can either buy them toasted, or toast them yourself in a dry skillet for a minute or two.
  • Thyme. Although I love fresh herbs, I actually prefer to use dried in this dish. The texture works out better in the dukkah.

Colorful fall salad on a platter

Closing Thoughts

This salad requires a bit of prep time to slice the veggies and make the dukkah. But it's absolutely worth it, and will make a show-stopping side dish that can easily go from summer to fall. This salad would even be at home on your Thanksgiving table, where something bright and raw is a lovely addition to all the heavier classics.

Give this symphony of colors, flavors, and textures a try! You may never go back to boring roasted beets again.

Colorful fall salad on a platter with dukkah and flowers

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Blackberry Limoncello Gin Smash

Babagahummus

Loaded Mediterranean Salad

Lemon Blueberry Thyme Pasta Salad

Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Caramelized Lemon Turmeric Sauce

Raw Fall Salad with Lemon-Pistachio Dukkah

A delightfully fresh dish for fall, this colorful beauty features a rainbow of seasonal produce with a decadent nutty crumble on top. If you've never had raw beets before, this fall salad (and a couple sneaky tricks!) will convince you.

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

For the Veggie Marinade

  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp robust, flavorful olive oil
  • Generous freshly ground salt and pepper

For the Salad

  • 6-8 chioggia or yellow beets
  • 2-4 carrots
  • Few big handfuls of arugula

For the Dukkah

  • Zest of a lemon
  • 0.5 c roasted salted pistachios
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 0.5 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 0.25 tsp sea salt
  • Few grinds of black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.
  2. Very carefully (use the hand guard!), slice the beets with a mandoline. Put them into the marinade as soon as you finish each beet to avoid browning.
  3. Peel the carrots. Then, using the peeler again, create long, thin carrot ribbons. Add the carrots to the marinade with the beets. Use tongs to move all the veggies around and ensure that all surfaces are coated with the marinade.
  4. Let the beets and carrots sit for one to several hours, tossing periodically.
  5. Put the dukkah ingredients into a mini food processor and pulse to bring them together. You want to create a loose crumble, not pistachio butter! Pulse it a couple times, then give it a look, and pulse again as needed, but be careful not to over-process.
  6. Just before serving, add the arugula to your marinated veggies and give everything a good toss.
  7. Lay out your salad on a serving platter. Cover it with a good sprinkle of dukkah, then serve extra dukkah on the side for additional sprinkling.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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Lee
August 21, 2020
Pamela- The farro sounds delightful! I bet the texture was a wonderful complement to the crisp veggies. And with beets and carrots right from the garden, this all seems so perfect! So glad you enjoyed it!
Pamela
August 20, 2020
This is a perfect dinner on a hot August evening when beets and carrots are plentiful in the garden. We added farro to make it a meal, the flavors are bright, fresh, delightful!