I often find as the warm weather progresses, I increasingly want salad of some kind for lunch. For one, I don’t really want to warm up the house (and myself) any more than I have to by cooking, but I also find my body just doesn’t want anything heavy. Having said that, I don’t really like to just eat a bunch of greens and I’m not very good at having the same thing too often. I like to vary what I eat, as you might have guessed, even within a category like salad. This simple beet and cucumber salad is one that I do make in one form or another a little more often as it’s so quick and easy to make, is nicely refreshing and so perfect for a warm day. The tarragon buttermilk dressing I made here is a new one for me and works so well.
I first had a beet and cucumber salad when I was in university, more years ago now than I like to think. In fact that’s when I got to remotely liking beetroot as an ingredient – it wasn’t something my mum ever cooked with (I don’t think she liked it) and other than trying it pickled which I really didn’t like as a child, I had only had it in a chutney a friend’s mum made. A boyfriend in university made a simple beet and cucumber salad which I quickly grew to love and make often as part of a simple lunch or sometimes a side when we were grilling. This salad is a variation on that, adding in some greens and dressed with a buttermilk dressing that’s really tasty. It’s still really easy and fresh but has just that little bit more to it, both in quantity and flavors, that makes it seem more than it is.
When I say it’s easy to make, I’m really not kidding, as there’s just a little bit of chopping to do for the salad, then whisk up the dressing and that’s it. It’s simple enough and light enough to make a great side dish for a number of things, but I’d say particularly if you are grilling things like chicken, fish or other meats. It makes a nice light lunch as well, easily bulked out with some bread or whatever else takes your fancy.
The dressing for this beet and cucumber salad is really easy but has a delicious, herby tang to it. Tarragon is something you don’t want to use in too large quantities as it has a pretty strong flavor but it’s also so aromatic and really adds such depth to any dish. In a dressing like this, it works so well with the milder cucumbers and beetroot.
This beet and cucumber salad is, as I’ve described it, a pretty simple mix but has such fantastic flavors – and colors – it will brighten up any table, whether as a side or for lunch. Fresh, flavorful and fantastically healthy, it’s a great way to eat in the heat.
A simple, light combination that makes a great side.
- 1 beet med/large (I had chioggia, cooked (suggest roasted or boiled, whole with skin on, until tender when tested with a knife)
- 1/2 cucumber approx 3in/7.5cm piece
- 1 handful pea shoots or other similar small greens
- 2 handfuls mixed greens eg arugula-spinach mix
- 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp fresh tarragon finely chopped
Peel the beet and slice it and the cucumber into relatively thin slices, cutting the slices into quarters (or smaller if the beet slices seem too big).
Place the pea shoots, greens, cucumber and beet slices in a bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, honey and tarragon and pour over the salad, toss together and serve.
Try these other salads perfect as a side: