Moroccan Beet Salad

Moroccan beet salad with red onions and fresh herbs on a white platter with a spoon
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A simple, herby, orange-dressed Moroccan beet salad that can be made up to five days ahead of time, and it’s vegan, too? It sounds too good to be true, but this is the real deal, folks! 

A Make-Ahead Salad that Stays Fresh and Vibrant? YUP.

Beets aren’t just another pretty face—although their striking magenta color is a big bonus—they’re also a kitchen workhorse. This simple beet salad will save the day this holiday season, because you can make it up to FIVE days ahead. Oh yes, that’s right! You’ll have time to make it, forget that you made it and then remember again and be thrilled that you were smart enough to work so far ahead. Drizzled with a citrusy, cumin-spiced Moroccan dressing and paired with the purple sharpness of raw onions, it’s a bright and vibrant salad that will perk up just about any meal. Winter salads can be just as exciting as summer salads, and this Moroccan red beet salad recipe proves it!   

cooked red beets cubed and in a large glass bowl

How to Cook Beets for Salad

OK, so roasting is definitely the trendy way to cook beets (and everything else) these days, and we get that. We’re into roasting, too! BUT, when it comes to cooking beets for this orange-y, herby cold beet salad, we like to boil this knobby root vegetable. A few things to note: 

  • Be a bit patient—cooking beets whole takes time. We let them boil for at least 30 minutes, and sometimes it takes longer. Check for doneness by piercing them with a fork. 
  • No need to peel the beets before boiling them. This is one reason why boiling is one of our favorite ways to cook beets—it’s so, so easy. Just chop off the beet greens, and toss your beets whole into boiling water. 
  • You do eventually have to peel the beets, of course. Our trick is to peel them—after they’ve cooked and cooled—under cold running water. They’ll be soft and yielding after boiling, and the skin should come off easily. 

3 Classic Moroccan Flavors that Make this Beet Salad Dressing Sing

When whisked together with olive and a bit of salt to make a simple salad dressing, these three familiar ingredients take on an exotic, Moroccan flair: 

  1. Cumin. A member of the parsley family, cumin’s warm, pungent flavor is a backbone of Moroccan cuisine and it is a defining flavor of our beet salad, too. 
  2. Mint! Arguably one of Morocco’s most well-known culinary delights is mint tea—the famous open-air markets of Marrakesh brim with vendors selling this warm, sweet refreshment that celebrates fresh mint. 
  3. Orange! Orange juice and orange zest add sweetness and a bit of acid—the perfect foil for beets earthy sweetness. 
Moroccan beet salad on a white platter with fresh cilantro and fresh mint

BTW, Are Beets Healthy?

You can basically see the health benefits of beetroot in their brilliant royal-purple hue, right? Any vegetable that can stain your clothes (or hands—watch out!) like this almost guaranteed to be super, super healthy. Not only does there seem to be a connection between beet consumption and lower blood pressure, they’re a uniquely good source of antioxidants. Beets are high in fiber, folic acid and potassium, too. In other words—eat your beets! P.S. don’t just toss those beet greens! They’re actually a superfood in their own right—full of calcium, iron, vitamins and antioxidants, too.  Rinse them well—they have a tendency to be a bit gritty—and sauté with a little olive oil and garlic for an easy, tasty, healthy side dish. 

moroccan beet salad on a white platter with fresh herbs

Tools You’ll Need: 

4 Winter Salad Recipes to Brighten These Short Days

Four salad recipes sure to liven up heavy wintertime meals:  

Try This Make-Ahead Salad—Your Sanity Will Thank You. 

Actually enjoying the holidays—not just surviving—is all about planning ahead, so that when the “big” moments come, you’re able to relax and enjoy them (in other words, you’re not stuck in the kitchen). We hope this salad saves you some time, and wins you some hard-earned praise this season, too! Let us know how it goes over! Snap a photo of your Moroccan beet salad, and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you share it with. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating! 

Moroccan Beet Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

5 medium sized beets, tops removed
1 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed

Method

  1. In a large pot bring enough water to cover beets to a boil. Add in beets and allow to simmer until beets are tender enough to be pierced with a fork, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from pot and allow to cool completely. While running under cold water, remove the skins from the beets using a peeler. Cut beets into 2” pieces and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine orange juice, olive oil, cumin and salt. Stir well and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl add in beets, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, sliced onions and dressing and toss until everything is mixed together. Top with more fresh herbs and serve.

Note: Without the fresh herbs, salad will store well for up to 5 days in refrigerator.