Russian Beet Salad with Prunes and Pecans is perfect for winter months. Packed with nutrients and vitamins, it uses seasonal beets and is also budget friendly.
Beets are quite popular in Russian cuisine; there are a few different salads and soups using them. Up until a few years ago I never cooked with beets. They scared me. I think it's the idea of boiling them for a long time that really intimidated me. Then I found out that they could be cooked in a microwave and my life changed. That was while I still lived in my tiny condo. Now I don't have a microwave, but I discovered a different method of cooking beets. I wash and scrub them, then wrap each beet in foil, place in a roasting pan and bake in the oven until beets are soft and the jewel coloured juice is seeping through the aluminum blanket.
And yet I still don't like cooking with beets even though I like eating them. It seems like a waste of oven baking time and energy to only cook 2-3 beets in the oven, but if I cook more I rarely can use them all as hubby doesn't really like them. So, on occasion I buy Love Beets at Costco (not sponsored link) - cooked and vacuum packed beets in small packages. One small pouch contains about 250g or 3-4 small beets which is perfect for me.
This is one of the most traditional Russian Beet Salads but it has some unusual ingredients. I know in some families prunes aren't used, but they were common in mine. Sweet and slightly tangy prunes, crunchy and buttery nuts, earthy beets are combined and bound together with garlicky mayo. It may seem like an odd combination - prunes and garlic - but prunes go amazingly well in savoury dishes. If you haven't already, I urge you to try Chicken with Prunes as well.
Russian Beet Salad with Prunes and Pecans
Cooked, peeled beets - 4 small (about 250 g)Pitted prunes - 4 large (about 40 g)Pecans, chopped * - 1/2 cup (about 60 g)Mayo (regular or vegan) ** - 2 tablespoonGarlic, pressed - 1 cloveSalt to taste
- Grate beets using the large side of a grater.
- Chop prunes into 1/4" pieces.
- In a bowl combine grated beets, chopped pecans, chopped prunes, pressed garlic and mayo.
- Mix well.
- Season to taste with salt and serve.
- Will last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
* I love using Pecans in my cooking and baking, they are crunchy and buttery and have sweet and mild taste. But they aren't actually popular in Russia. At least they weren't when I lived there. Walnuts were the traditional nut used in many dishes. So, feel free to use traditional walnuts in this recipe.
** I wrote about my guilty ingredient - mayo - almost a year ago. If you'd like to make this salad a little bit more healthy, then you can use Greek yogurt in place of mayo, but to be honest, two tablespoons aren't that indulgent and they taste so very good in this salad. You can also make this recipe vegan by using Vegan Mayo.