Spring is finally here, but today is cold and wintry, so I’m not quite ready to abandon my warming meals like Roasted Celeriac and Apple Soup, Spicy Squash and Sweet Potato Stew and Vegan Shepherd’s Pie. A warm Kale Salad with Roasted Beets, Fennel and Red Onions is a great salad to help us transition from winter to spring.
Kale is an excellent choice of greens to balance hearty roasted vegetables like beets, and roasted fennel adds a very subtle anise-like flavour. I added pink grapefruit because I enjoy the burst of citrus, but my love doesn’t love the grapefruit, so his servings are without pink grapefruit. Do this Kale Salad with Roasted Beets, Fennel and Red Onions your way, with or without pink grapefruit. Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sugars, and many people agree the best way to enjoy beets is roasted.
You can choose any variety and color of beets for this salad, golden beets, red beets or beautiful pink and white candy-striped chiogga beets (although they will lose their pink color when they are roasted). If you have a few of each kind, then go ahead and mix and match. I know some people find red beets to taste too earthy and they don’t like to handle them because they can stain your fingernails. If you’re in that camp, just use golden beets, which have a sweeter, less earthy flavour and won’t stain your fingernails.
Benefits of Beets
- Beets are an excellent source of folate. One cup of beets provides over one third of the recommended daily intake of folate. Folate is important for red blood cell production and the nervous system function, including helping to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- There is evidence that consumption of beets can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, protect the liver, support circulation within the heart and blood vessels, and enhance athletic performance.
- One of the bioactive constituents of beets is betalain, which demonstrates protection against oxidative stress and has anticancer properties.
Why beets turn urine red
If you ever experience scarlet colored urine, don’t panic and run to the doctor if you’ve just eaten beets. It’s probably beeturia, or the technically correct term betacyaniniuria, that occurs in 10-14% of the population. Beeturia is a benign condition, but may be related to iron deficiency or malabsorption. If you suspect you are iron deficient, red urine after eating beets may be an added clue with which you can follow up with your healthcare provider.
Beets are high in oxalates which may be an issue for those susceptible to gout or kidney stones.
Kale Salad with Roasted Beets, Fennel and Red Onions
- 1 lb beets
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil divided
- ½ fennel bulb
- 1 red onion
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 pink grapefruit optional
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried rosemary crushed
- Preheat oven to 425°. Peel beets and cut into 1” cubes. Toss with 2 teaspoons avocado oil and spread onto parchment lined baking sheet.
- Slice fennel and red onion from stem to root. Toss with one teaspoon avocado oil.
- Roast beets for 30 minutes total. After 20 minutes, add the fennel and red onion to the baking sheet to roast for 10 minutes.
- While the veggies are roasting, remove tough stems from kale and tear into pieces. Place kale in a bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice and salt and massage kale just until it begins to wilt, breaking down the tough cell structure and making the kale tender.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake to emulsify.
- Add roasted beets, fennel and red onions to the kale. Top with walnuts and pink grapefruit, if desired.
- Pour dressing over salad and toss.
- Pink grapefruit can be omitted if you don’t like the extra tang. Walnuts can be replaced with your favourite nuts or try pumpkin seeds instead.
- If your hands turn color from beets, use lemon juice to remove stains.