Grated Carrots and Beets Recipe

I used to think winter produce was drab, and that the cook’s only option was to wait the cold months out, squinting into the distance, longing for asparagus and strawberries to appear (“Anne, Sister Anne, do you see nothing coming?”).

Now I can’t imagine how I could ever be so blind: what of mâche and winter squash, what of flower cabbage and broccoli, what of endives and leeks and chard, what of carrots and beets? Do they count for nothing?

If you’ve never tasted the root of a beet in its raw state, I urge you to give it a try, whether or not you (think you) despise cooked beets.

Perhaps it has helped that the Paris winter has been so mild (again) this year and that — in my memory, at least — the sun always seemed to be out on Saturday mornings, as I vélibed to and from the greenmarket.

Whatever the reason, this is the first year I registered a distinct pining when my habitual provider confessed he would have no more winter pears for me (it’s been such a good season for pears!) and when I saw, a few stalls down, the first crop of fresh peas.

“Oh, no!” I sobbed in my turquoise scarf, “this is too soon! I’m not ready to let go of winter just yet!” And then I thought, “I must write about the grated carrot and beet thing before everyone moves on to greener pastures.”

So there you have it: my favorite go-to lunch of the Winter 2007/08 collection, the salad I’ve made and relished on a weekly basis over the past few months, so much so that an estimated 27% of my body mass is now made up of grated carrots and beets.

This salad is based on a simple deduction: grated carrots rule and, although that is a much more hush-hush fact, so do grated beetroots. Ergo, the combination of the two is a civil union made in heaven.

Plus, I’m lazy, and crudivorism is the path of least resistance from basket to mouth.

If you’ve never tasted the root of a beet in its raw state, I urge you to give it a try, whether or not you (think you) despise cooked beets, for the two provide very different taste experiences.

Granted, the addition of grated beets to a grated carrot salad does not cause any sort of quantum shift, but it does add a deeper note to the chord, sweet yet throaty, and it colors the whole thing with the beetroot’s infectious purple enthusiasm.

I’ve written this salad into a recipe below, because that’s what food bloggers do, but the truth is I never make it twice the same way.

It always begins with (approximately) the same weight of carrots and beets that I peel, grate, and toss with a bit of oil and vinegar, but I then switch to improv mode: I just pluck from the rows of bottles and jars that crowd my kitchen counter, and I pour, dash, sprinkle, and pinch as my mood commands. I suggest you do the same.

Grated Carrots and Beets Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6.

Grated Carrots and Beets Recipe

Ingredients

  • 450 grams (1 pound) uncooked carrots
  • 450 grams (1 pound) uncooked beetroots (get small, young ones, with smooth skin and firm flesh)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil (or walnut, or squash seed, or olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon honey vinegar (or cider or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon strong Dijon mustard
  • Tabasco sauce or poblano pepper flakes, to taste
  • Smoked salt (or regular sea salt, or gomasio, or zaatar)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional add-ins:
  • Leafy fresh herbs (cilantro, chervil, flat-leaf parsley), chopped
  • Toasted nuts (almonds, pine nuts, cashews, peanuts) or seeds (sesame, sunflower seeds), or better yet, my new friend the dukkah
  • Shaved parmesan or cubed feta cheese or crumbled blue cheese
  • Mâche or baby spinach leaves
  • A grated apple or shallot
  • Any dried herb, spice, or spice mix you think might work (and you know there's only one way to find out)

Instructions

  1. Trim, peel, and grate the carrots and beets. (If you own a food processor with a grater attachment, yay for you!) Place the rest of the main ingredients, from garlic to black pepper, in a large salad bowl, add the grated carrots and beets, and toss until well combined. Add any desired add-ins and toss again.
  2. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and let stand for 30 minutes, if you can, before serving: the beets and carrots will render juices that will make the salad moister. If you don't have that kind of time and the salad does not feel quite moist enough, add a dash of citrus juice, tomato juice, or any sort of juice that may currently reside in the refrigerator door.
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/salads/grated-carrots-and-beets-recipe/

  • http://www.mevrouwcupcake.com Mari

    I’m such a huge beet fan, and am known to eat them daily for lunch, but I’ve never eaten them raw. I can’t wait to try out this recipe!

  • Carol

    Grated carrot and beets… one of my favorite salad recipes. I don’t like the flavor of cooked beets, but I love them raw! My mother made this salad A LOT when she lived in Cuba, since she could always lay her hands on carrots and beets, and it seems that it’s very good for the tan :-) She seasons it with finely chopped shallots, red wine vinegar, olive oil, parsley and moutarde à l’ancienne. Will definitely try to add green apple.
    My husband just gave me your recipe book (in French, éd. Marabout) yesterday, and it’s great! I’m loving the pictures, the recipes, the stories you tell… I’ve been addicted to your blog for a long time, and now I’ll start buying the books :-)

  • Christie

    I’m embarrassed to say, but I always buy beets at the market, and then I always let them rot in the fridge. I love the taste of beets, but I hate the red stained cutting board, hands, and, in my case, clothing. Maybe next time we head to the market, I’ll talk my husband into buying beets *just one more time* and I’ll try this recipe.

  • Lisa

    I love this salad. I first came across it in a book by Robert Arbor (in english) about life in France. I’ve been serving it on Thanksgiving for the past several years because I find it helps counteract the sweetness and softness of the turkey and stuffing. And the colors are beautiful. Thanks for all the suggestions for how to change it up.

  • http://www.helengraves.co.uk Helen

    I made a very similar recipe recently with grated fennel in the mix which was delicious. Grated apples worked a treat too. The same things happened to me, it was so nutritious and simple that I ate it every day (nearly) for weeks! And congratulations for managing to post in the future, that’s amazing!

  • http://www.godfulfood.blogspot.com anya

    Carrots and beets are my survival staples throughout winter. I experiment with them non-stop! Grated carrots pair nicely with oranges, too. And I love a ‘carrot’ dessert from my childhood – grated carrots mixed with honey and chopped walnuts.

    p.s. Just a short note to say whenever I read your new posts or ‘dive into’ your archives for earlier ones, they never fail to make my day! Kudos to you, Clotilde!

  • http://marriage-tips-for-men.blogspot.com/ Mama with Marriage Tips for Men

    Wow. I love the color. Looks so tasty and yummy!

  • Jayanthi

    One of my lunchbox favorites as a kid was grated carrot or grated beets with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of salt. It was always one of the other, but I’ll have to try combining the two and fancying it up a touch!

  • Rachel

    I’ve been living on carrot salad myself for quite some time (both your avocado one and the Rose Bakery version with herbs and seeds) and this looks like a lovely variation. I don’t think I’ve had raw beetroot before (though I do like it cooked) so that’s definitely going on my shopping list for the farmers’ market this Sunday.

    By the way, congrats on the publication of the cookbook’s version francaise. I was in Paris last week and perused it on one of my visits to Gibert Joseph and, as if I didn’t know it already, I love your writing in French just as much as in English!

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    Les asperges apparaissent doucement sur les étals mais il est vrai que ces crudités d’hiver ont leur charme!

  • http://www.ModernBeet.com Jen (Modern Beet)

    Beets are by far my favorite specimen in the vegetable kingdom — roasted, raw, pickled, boiled, pureed — I love them all. So much so I name my blog after them! (Modern Beet)

  • http://www.quidnuncjournal.blogspot.com Krista

    My mother is Polish and so beets are an important part of her heritage. I love all things beet – beet soup, pickled beets and roasted beets. For Easter, she always makes a relish of beets and horseradish (it has some religious significance). I have never thought of eating raw beets – but you can bet that I’ll be making her your salad. It sounds delicious. Krista

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.typepad.com barbara

    I think I lived on this salad when I was 18….without the oil. Sometimes when we weren’t counting calories we added some shredded iceberg lettuce.

  • http://www.kathrynelliott.com.au/blog kathryn

    I’ve LONG been a fan of grated raw beetroot. I usually toss it in a tangy yoghurt dressing – which of course goes a beautiful pink colour.

    We’re still at the tail end of summer, but when the winter beetroot comes into season I’ll be trying out your salad. Love the idea of adding toasted nuts and hazelnut oil.

  • P

    Not related to beets… I just wanted to congratulate you on the fantastic article on butter in the US March 2008 volume of Saveur! Well done you- a lovely piece, as usual!

  • Melinda

    Carrot salad has been my staple fresh food this whole winter too! I use almond oil instead of hazelnut, along with white balsamic vinegar and pine nuts. Adding grated beets sounds to die for, as I just love beets.
    I also suggest trying julianning the carrots instead of grating as it gives them more crunch and substance (it’s very very hard to julliane beets, I’ve tried).

  • http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com Alanna

    Must be beet season! Nami-Nami posted beets today, I posted beets today, you posted beets today. Together we shall prove the beauty that is beet!

  • http://www.wearenotmartha.com Sues is not Martha

    I’m really big into beats. And I love nothing more than when my food is pretty colors!

    Sues

  • http://daysontheclaise.blogspot.com/ Susan

    I love all those earthy tasting foods. This would combine well with a lentil salad. It’s good to see so many people unperturbed by beetroot’s effect on certain bodily fluids (or perhaps they just didn’t want to lower the tone ! ) Mind you, Clothilde, if you are segueing from beets to asparagus, you are clearly not concerned :-)

  • http://nami-nami.blogspot.com Pille

    I guess I blog about beetroot pretty much every week, too, but I tend to use cooked/roasted beetroot. Very eager to try it in raw state now.

  • http://www.almostvegetarian.com Almost Vegetarian

    I have never found a beetroot recipe that works for me. But the color, oh the color is so gorgeous I keep trying. And now I have the next recipe to try.

    Cheers!

  • Melanie

    Wow, this looks gorgeous – and it just so happens that I have a bag of beetroot and a load of carrots in the fridge already, so guess what I’ll be having for dinner tomorrow!

    By the way, my husband & I visited the farmers’ markets on Bvd. Raspail (on your recommendation!) when we were in Paris last month and were absolutely knocked out by the produce – especially some wonderful fresh apple juice (I can almost taste it now – it’d be perfect with this salad!)

  • Anjali

    I LOVE carrot salads and actually had one for dinner just last night that had a an Asian twist :) You & David Lebovitz got me hooked to the simple sweet dish so thank you!

  • http://museinthekitchen.com Muse in the Kitchen

    I used to be one of those who “didn’t like beets” but then my mom made me this gorgeous beet salad and now I’m hooked. I’m definitely going to give this one a try. I think the beets will transform the carrots.

  • Dan Dx

    OT (sorry!) I’ve found this:
    article.
    Watch #38! Congratulations!

  • http://www.simplygluten-free.blogspot.com Simply…Gluten-free

    Beets and carrots are a lovely way to add “sunshine” to the dreary winter months.

  • http://thelovelyemily.blogspot.com/ Emily S.

    Hey Clotilde,

    Congrats on your Bloggie!

    -Emily

  • http://www.peanutbutterboy.com Nick

    Weird, I was just talking to someone about a grated beet salad I had recently at a restaurant. I think it was grated beet and celery root but it sure stuck out in my mind. This sounds equally as delicious and healthy to boot. Sounds great!

  • http://aurecuisine.over-blog.com auré

    I’ve discovered last month uncooked beet at Laurence Salomon’s restaurant and if I hate cooked beet, I’m totally in love with uncooked ;-)

  • zoé

    Yes! I often make carrottes rapées, which I learned to love on the Left Bank, but never thought to add beets- can’t wait to try it!
    For “almost vegetarian”, try this:
    boil beets, slip skins, cut as you wish (wedges, slices…) add similarly cut tomatoes, paper-thin onion slices, avocado if they are good, vinaigrette and seasonings of your choice. I like it just a bit warm still, but that’s up to you.
    Now I have a totally unrelated question, if someone could be so kind as to enlighten me. Here in Bamako, in front of the Lebanese super-market, I once found and tried a vegetable the vendeuses called “blettes”. They looked like bok choy, but had a different and wonderful taste. Hélas, I’ve never seen any since, and want to know what is their name in English as I plan to return to the US soon.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    P, Rachel, Dan X, and Emily S. — Thanks for your congrats! :)

    Zoé — We have blettes (sometimes called bettes) in France, and the closest US equivalent I’ve found is something called Swiss chard.

  • Mackenzie

    Hi Clotilde

    I’m a first-time poster, long-time reader. My boyfriend and I are huge fans. I would like to make this salad, and I was wondering how many servings this recipe makes.

    Merci!
    Mackenzie

  • Beth

    Clotilde,
    This looks delicious, but is this really all you eat for lunch? If so, no wonder you stay so svelte!
    Beth

  • Melanie

    Hi Clotilde,

    I used your inspired carrot/ beetroot combination again last night as the basis for one of my favourite curry accompaniments, gujurati carrot salad – you heat a few spoonfuls of bland oil (sunflower, rapeseed or similar)with a teaspoon or two of black mustard seed, until the seeds pop, and pour it, still hot, over raw grated carrot. The heat very subtly changes the character of the carrots, and the cooked mustard seeds add warmth but not fire. Altogether very tasty, with or without curry.

    Mel

  • http://www.teaandfood.blogspot.com Mr. Teaandfood

    Something wonderful happens when beets combine with walnut and vinegar. It’s like they’re old friends. They also like to visit with their cousin, M. Chevre.

  • http://professionalbakist.blogspot.com/ Ngoc

    I had never had raw beets before, but I’m glad I experimented. Looks like I have a new favorite winter salad. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.ablindingheart.com julia ward

    How wonderful! I have some tiny, wonderful baby beets just ready to be snatched from my spring garden. How perfect with my atomic red carrots and a glass of sparkling white wine and sourdough hearth bread. Yum….

    blessings,
    julia

  • Sharon

    Carrot and Beetroot salad are a staple when you have over indulged a little (okay a lot) I like to add organge segments to mine with lots of parsley and dress it simply with orange juice

    Sharon

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    MacKenzie – You will get 4 to 6 servings from this recipe.

    Beth – I do add a protein element of some sort, and dessert! :)

    Melanie – Glad this inspired you, thanks for sharing your take.

  • Mackenzie

    Oh my gosh! I feel so silly! It says the serving recommendation right after the optional add-ins. And on my first post too! :(

  • gingerpale

    Mixed this up yesterday–it’s so flavorful it could *almost* be a condiment. I’m glad to have a processor for the beets, a little tougher to grate than carrots.
    I’d say make a lot at once, then vary it with different add-ins for each serving.

  • Zoé

    Clotilde,
    Thank you very much- maybe it was Swiss chard (it’s been so long since I had a chance to eat that!)
    I have eaten this beet/carrot salad twice now, the first time with just a dab of mustard, a bit of vinegar, and grated onion, then today with vinaigrette. Yes it is delicious, and even my Malian “son” went for it (he is a died-in-the- wool carnivore who usually turns his nose up at vegetables- unless french fries- and certainly not RAW beets!)
    Thanks again for the inspiration,
    Zoé

  • http://skorak.blogspot.com/ Joanna in the kitchen

    What a great option. So fresh idea. I definitely try it as soon as I can get young beetroots on the market.

  • http://www.thursdaynightsmackdown.com michelle @ TNS

    i love raw beets! cooked beets i can take or leave, but raw beet are super yummy in salads. i usually just slice them thinly and toss them into whatever salad i’m making at the moment. and in the winter, they splash of color is oh so nice.

  • Cynthia

    i’m living in Peru and ran across a similar recipe at a vegetarian restaurant in Huanchaco. This one has equal amounts grated carrots and beets, but also includes grated apple, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, chopped pecans and some raisins. When I make it at home I also add in a little bit of balsamic vinegar or lime juice. It’s a refreshing and satisfying salad after days of goat and rice.

  • http://suzanneanderson.blogspot.com Suzanne

    One of the joys of visiting your blog is that you have a terrific talent of creating genius, beautiful food combinations, crafting a compelling story about them, and then taking a picture that makes the reader just want to take a bite.

    What a wonderful talent!

  • Emily

    Thank you so much for reminding me how wonderful grated carrots are, Clotilde!
    For some strange reason (and strange, because I don’t think grated carrots are specifically French, though I could be wrong!), I never understood their virtues until I waitressed at a French restaurant last year. But my, oh my, I looked forward to my staff meal of salad every evening because it normally included those lovely carrots!
    Thank you again for a lovely blog and frequent opportunities to reminisce about living in Paris!

  • http://www.swirlingnotions.com swirlingnotions

    It looks delicious! I’ve just been pining for banh mi, and I’d bet this would be a great addition the sandwich. I’ve got some celery root in the fridge, so might throw that in too . . . the veggie that always makes me think of Paris.

  • http://familynutritionist.blogspot.com Family Nutritionist

    What a great idea! In the US, it is usually grated carrots and raisins in a sweetened mayonnaise dressing. I think I’ll try this variation.

  • http://www.iensrecepten.nl Anouk

    Delicious recipe. I’m definately gonna have a crack at it this weekend.

  • tricia

    i just got back from eastern europe and fell in love with beets. i don’t know why i had never tried them, probably because they are usually pickled here (usa) and i don’t like anything pickled. the day after arriving home i made a vegetarian borscht and used the beets 3 different ways (roasted, raw, and juiced). i can’t wait to try this salad, i’ll probably use a higher beet to carrot ratio. and you are so right about blue cheese going great with beets. i love your blog. keep the beet recipes coming!

  • http://notesontea.blogspot.com/ Georgia

    I’ve had grated carrot and green papaya salad several times at a local (Berkeley, CA) Thai restaurant. Delicious. Inspired by this post but craving the peppery flavour of the radish, I prepared a grated carrots and sliced radishes salad, also delicious.

  • Alexis

    I’ve just gotten into beets recently and this is the first time I’ve tried them raw. This is a great salad! Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  • http://www.sacredandtheprofane.com Calee

    I just made this– Delicious! I went with the apple/ pumpkin seed add ins and it was a hit.

    I’ve made a handful of your recipes and never gone wrong. Right now the pistachio custard is chilling in the refrigerator. Thanks for helping me feel like I’m back in France here in Southern California.

  • Julie

    For the commenter not keen on the pink mess of preparing the beets, I’d recommend substituting golden beets. They are simply delicious (not as strong in flavor?) and of course the colors are sunny.

    Rare to see suggestions for using zataar too. Wonderful!

  • Elena

    Just made this and totally loved. Followed the recipe exactly plus added a bit of lemon zest.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Happy to hear you enjoyed this! The lemon zest addition sounds wonderful.

  • http://beyondbluestockings.wordpress.com beyondbluestockings

    Thanks for sharing – this is just what I was looking for :)

  • http://www.glutenfreesafari.com/ Karen

    Hello, Clotilde!

    Just made this last night, liked it though didn’t have any Dijon.

    Referenced it on my new Gluten free site.

    Also; I love your cupcak-ey Twitter background; how did you do that?

    Thanks,

    Karen

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It’s from a set of cupcake backgrounds I designed a few years ago.

  • Judy

    Hi Clothilde
    I found your recipe and tried out the zingy beetroot and carrot salad. Wow! Very tasty. I added some creamed horseradish to it for a little more pungency. And I love your site – it’s so entertaining. Keep up the good work!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Oh yes, I can see how well horseradish would work here. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • pao

    Great idea for raw beets!
    Loved this salad, I made it tonight with the salt-crusted chicken.
    First time I use your recipes, and my family already adores you :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Great pairing idea, Pao, and I’m happy your meal was so successful.

  • http://houseinsideout.blogspot.com Jennevieve

    I just made this but used Balsamic Glaze with black truffle instead of the regular balsamic and it is fantastic!

    I forgot I even had a grater for my food processor. It was like a kitchen miracle.

  • Savannah

    Stumbled across this recipe today in a hunt for creative beet ideas. I just want to say, reading this page made me smile. You write your recipes similar to the way that I follow them. “Honey vinegar? hmm wonder if balsalmic would suffice? Lemon juice…. uh, lime?” It was a joy to see there are cooks in the world who write to accommodate a dwindled pantry stock. :)

  • Stella_L

    We bought beautiful young beets and my hubby said let’s be adventurous and eat it raw :) I came to you for inspiration and we had this as a part of our lunch..it stole the show :) thank you for your lovely recipes!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      That’s wonderful to hear, Stella, thank you for reporting back. I still eat this all. the. time during root veg season! :)

  • Heidi

    I was cooking Caribbean inspired pot roast and some sort of slaw side dish came to mind as I had 4 beet roots, cabbage and pounds of carrots in my fridge not knowing what to do with themselves. Handy internet brought me to your recipe by way of “can you shred raw beets…” Sunflower oil gave it a nutty flavor and, since I ran out of Dijon, horseradish yellow mustard had to do. My son, who loves anything ethnic, brought Zahtar into our home which added a whole other layer of flavor. My hands are pink from grating beets and the salad is beautifully delicious!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I’m so pleased to hear that, Heidi, your salad must have been lovely!

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