Shredded Beet, Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad with Walnuts and an Orange Vinaigrette, utilizes fruits and vegetables that are in abundance at the winter farmer’s market and proves that when you have local organic vegetables, you need to do very little to create something special. In this recipe, you don’t need to even turn on the stove.
The astringent orange vinaigrette provides a bracing contrast to the earthy huskiness of our winter root vegetables, and thankfully makes use of the clementines or oranges that are always a presence in my fruit drawer this time of year. I also always have plenty of walnuts in the pantry. They are a winter workhorse, as I toss them into yogurt for breakfast, salads for lunch, or in a stir fry for dinner.
Pea shoots are in the market this week, which have a very mild taste similar to watercress but without the peppery bite. They taste fresh and bright, and the tangle of sprouts pairs nicely with the shredded vegetables. Arugula would be a great choice, too. Or, the red salad is perfectly suitable all by itself.
During winter days with a palette that exposes only variations of grey, I appreciate these rich colors at the table. The winter market’s hues of deep red, purple and crimson shine like gems, and, I think, are a beautiful gift this time of year.
A market basket full of organic vegetable ingredients to make this dish will be available for a special discounted price at the indoor Great Falls Farmer’s Market at the Great Falls Grange, 9818 Georgetown Pike, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 2 oranges (or 3-4 clementines)
- ¼ cup orange juice (usually the juice of one medium orange)
- Zest of two oranges or 3-4 clementines
- ½ cup olive oil
- Large pinch of sea salt
- Pepper, to taste
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- ¼ red cabbage (about a cup)
- 4 medium beets, peeled
- 2 carrots (I used red carrots), peeled
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 bunch pea shoots, rinsed (place pea shoots in a large bowl and cover with water, swish around, then lift carefully out of the water and wrap in a clean towel to dry.)
- Zest* both oranges using a microplane grater or the smallest holes of a box grater.
*To zest a citrus fruit: lightly apply grater to the peel and remove the colorful zest into a small bowl or glass measuring cup leaving behind the white pith. The zest captures the orange oil, which is the wonderful scent and essence of orange.
- Juice one of the oranges until you have ¼ cup orange juice, add to the zest.
- With remaining orange, use a sharp or serated knife, remove the ends and white pith surrounding the orange, then cut along each segment to remove wedges of orange and set aside. Squeeze any remaining juice from the left-behind pith and add to the zest.
Better yet, here is a terrific video by Serious Eats demonstrating how to remove citrus segments.
- While whisking, add the ½ cup olive oil to the orange juice and zest, blend. Season to taste with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Using a food processor fitted with the shredding blade, shred the beets, carrots and red cabbage. You could also use the large holes in a box grater but a food processor is much easier. Place shredded vegetables into a large bowl, add the sliced shallot and toss to combine.
*When handling red beets, you may want to wear gloves, as they will likely leave a garnet stain on your skin for a bit.
- Slowly add about half of the dressing to the shredded vegetables and toss until vegetables are coated. Add remaining vinaigrette to the pea shoots and toss to combine.
- To serve, top pea shoots with shredded vegetables and scatter walnuts on top.
- Serve immediately, or for a slightly less crunchy but more intense flavor, let vegetables sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. Add pea shoots and walnuts just before serving.