When I heard that this month’s Virtual Vegan Potluck featured ingredient was beets. I went against every instinct I had and signed up to bring an appetizer that uses beets. I don’t eat beets often. I don’t cook beets. And I rarely make appetizers. What can I say. I like a challenge.
But I do enjoy eating beets. That has to count for something right? My experience with beets growing up is all canned. So this month was the month of learning how to cook beets. Not to mention learning how to handle beet “blood”. Oh yeah, when dealing with beets….there will be beet “blood”. Just imagine Daniel Day Lewis saying that.
What I’ve learned is that beets don’t need a lot of finessing. They have a great rich and earthy taste on their own. I’ve also learned to use parchment paper when cutting beets. Because beet blood on a wood cutting board is a nightmare. But beet stained hands aren’t that bad. Sure, I could use gloves. But having beet stained hands is somewhat satisfying to me.
This appetizer is a deconstructed beet and apple salad (without the salad-y part). Fresh, tart slices of granny smith apples are topped with creamy cashew cheese and roasted beets coated with a sweet lemon dressing. It’s all sprinkled with crunchy, candied walnuts and chopped chives.
All the goodies are on one end of the apple slice. The other end is for holdin’. I like to eat it all in one bite so all the flavors and contrasting textures meld together. But making it a two-bite deal works also.
Even though there are multiple components to this app, it came together easily because I made the components in advance. So all I had to do was assemble it before you guys came over. It can be served cold or at room temp (my preference).
Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad
Adapted from Martha Stewart. Makes about 25-30 apple slices.
- 2 medium beets, roasted and peeled (I used this method)
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 1 tbs maple syrup (for walnuts) + 1 1/2 tbs maple syrup (for beets)
- 1/2 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs lemon juice + extra for dipping apple slices
- 2 granny smith apples
- 1 cup cashew cheese
- handful of chives, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
Toss the walnuts with the 1 tbs of maple syrup, brown sugar and pinch of salt. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven at 400F for 5 minutes (I did this when I roasted the beets to save oven power). Take them out and give them a shake and put in for another 4-5 minutes. Let them cool and then store in an air tight container if not using it right away.
Cut the roasted beets into small cubes and put in a mixing bowl. Make the beet dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice and the 1 1/2 tbs of maple syrup together. I put it all in a little jar and shake it up. Coat the beet cubes with about HALF of the sweet lemon dressing. Save the other half for drizzling over the finished serving plate.
Slice the apples into pieces that are about 1/4 inch thick. Then cut those slices in half so you have bite-size pieces as shown. Dip both sides of the apple pieces in a small bowl of lemon juice mixed with a little water to prevent them from browning.
Now it’s time to assemble. I put about 1/2 tbs of cashew cheese on the end of each apple piece, followed by some beet cubes and then a sprinkling of crushed candied walnuts and chives. When plating, drizzle more of the dressing on top.
I was worried that the beet juices would drip everywhere making this a nightmarish appetizer. But the juices just kinda settled into the thick creamy cashew cheese. But don’t worry if you spill a little. Because that’s how we roll in this house (aka, the pups will eat it up).
Hungry for more? If you just happenstanced on this post, there is so much more vegan food to be had. Go back and check out what Cadry is serving over at Cadry’s Kitchen.
Or hop on forward to Ashley’s place at A Cook in the Making.
Or start from the very beginning (at Vegan Bloggers Unite) and work your way through 100+ delectable vegan beverages, appetizers, salads, side dishes, main dishes and desserts!
Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck!