Pickled Beets & Apple Salad

A few days ago, I was hungry, wanted something healthy, and I didn’t want to go to the grocery store.  I looked in the refrigerator and saw three jars of pickled beets and fruit.  Thinking I should start eating them, I searched the internet for recipes and came upon many recipes for beets with apples.  I used what I had and it was delicious!

This caused me to think about what else I could do with this salad.  Below are both the simple and the more complex (although still really easy recipes).  And the beauty of it is, the ingredients are easy to find in Ankara and throughout Turkey!  To top it off, beets are in season and very reasonably priced!

Basic Ingredients
Basic Ingredients

Simple Recipe (U.S. – and possibly other countries)

  • Can or jar of pickled beets
  • 1 apple (preferable a green one like Granny Smith)
  • Lemon or your favorite vinegar (apple cider or balsamic is good)
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Goat Cheese or Feta
  • Spiced Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, or Almonds)
  • Olive Oil

Drain beets and cut into bite sized pieces.  Do the same for the apple.  I use about 1/2 an apple per person.  Add the sliced onion proportionate to the beets and your liking.  Mix lemon (or vinegar) with a little olive oil.  Toss on the salad.  Add nuts and cheese to your liking.

Made from Scratch Recipe
(Turkey, U.S and others!)

For the Pickled Beets:

  • 2-3 beets (more or less depending on how much you want to make)
  • One yellow onion
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Black pepper corns

Wash the beets.  In a pot large enough to hold the beets, cover them with cold water. Add a little salt.  Boil them for about 30-60 minutes, depending on the size, until a thin sharp knife glides through on easily.  Remove beets from water, and save the beet water for later.  Run the beets under very cold water.  You should be able to remove the skins by rubbing the beet with your fingers.  (A paring knife will also work very easily at this point.  Add vinegar to the beet water (one part water to one part vinegar.)  The amount  depends on the beets.  You need to cover them completely with the mix in a jar.  Add a little sugar.  I only use one TBS, but some recipes call for more.  It really depends on how sweet you like pickled beets.  Add a spoonful of black pepper corns.  Heat the vinegar mix.  Slice the onion in approx. 1/4″ slices.  Cut the slices in half.  Add them to the vinegar mix.  Slice the beets or cut them in bite-sized chunks.  Add to the mix.

You do not need to let the beets cook very long.  The point is that the beets will soak the flavor up better if the mix is hot.  A minute or two is fine.  Pour the beets, onions, and mixture into a glass jar.  Be sure the jar is cool before refrigerating.  This is not a “canning” method.  The beets should remain refrigerated.

NOTE:  THIS IS ONE OF THOSE RECIPES I LOVE BECAUSE AMOUNTS DO NOT NEED TO BE PRECISE!  MANY RECIPES CALL FOR OTHER SPICES TO BE ADDED WITH THE VINEGAR.  DO A LITTLE RESEARCH AND GIVE THEM A TRY!

For the Spiced Nuts:

Photo Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

One of my BFFs shared this Martha Stewart recipe for the nuts.  The recipe calls for real maple syrup and pecans.  Neither of these are easy to find in Turkey.  (Real maple syrup, and the cheaper pancake syrup, may be found at Metro, Real, and Carrefour in Ankara.  But expect to pay a butt load for them!)  You can substitue Üzüm Pekmezi for the syrup and easily find walnuts or almonds almost anywhere.  Bim has cheap walnuts already shelled in a bag.  They aren’t as yummy as the fresh ones, but since you are covering them and baking them, they are just fine.

There is a brown sugar available in Turkey.  It’s not the same as that in the U.S., but it works.  Look for it in a brown box. Of course, white sugar works too.

Photo courtesy of GurmeNet.com.tr

Thyme is called kekik.  Be careful, oregano is also kekik.  Many brands of kekik sold in the markets have English on the packages as well.  I keep seeing thyme infused oregano!  Either will be fine.  But better with thyme.  Here’s a little more reading on the kekik conundrum!  Note, when dried, thyme looks more like little pieces of sticks.  Oregano is a rounder leaf which dries and crushes more like flakes.

The closest to thing to cayenne pepper is called Acı Pul Biber.  It’s available at any market or pazar.

Add a little more spice and a little less syrup for a spicier and less sweet nut. (Or use Martha’s Spicy Pecan Recipe).

Putting it all together:

Follow the directions for the simple recipe above to make the salad, with these minor adjustments:

  • Instead of adding red onion, use the onion that you pickled with the beets
  • No need for lemon or more vinegar.  Just use the juice & vinegar mixture from the beets!

Variations:

  • If pickling is too much of a hassle, try roasting the beets.  Peel them, dice them, cover in olive oil and bake in a greased dish at 375 until a knife goes in easily.
  • Add bitter salad greens like arugula or frisee.  Or serve it on boats of endive.
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