Meatless Monday: Sochi-Inspired Beet Salad

By: Patty Lee

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Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

The Super Bowl may be over, but there's only a quick break before action-packed sports resume with this week's opening of the Winter Olympics. In honor of this year’s host city, Sochi on the Black Sea, we’re fueling up with a classic vegetarian zakuski, Russia’s version of tapas. This vibrant, crimson-hued salad is remarkably simple, calling for shredded roasted beets tossed with ample garlic and chopped walnuts. Lemon juice and sweet medjool dates mellow out the intense garlicky punch, while sour cream and mayonnaise give the dish its luxurious, creamy texture. Toss in other hearty vegetables like potatoes or carrots to make it a filling meatless main, or load the salad up on blinis for a gold medal-worthy appetizer. Let the games begin!

2 1/2 pounds beets, preferably organic
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
7 large garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
6 medjool dates, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Trim and halve the beets lengthwise, and place in a 13-by-9-inch roasting pan. Fill with enough water so it comes halfway up the sides, cover the top tightly with foil and roast the beets for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on beets' size), until fork-tender. Remove from the oven, let cool, and slip the skins off. Using the coarsest setting on the food processor or the hand grater, shred the beets.

In a large bowl, toss the beets with the remaining ingredients and mix until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

More Meatless Recipes for the Olympics:

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