This is a simple and delicious side dish anytime, that is perfect for the transition from heartier winter root vegetable dishes to light, garden-fresh spring dishes. It also adds wonderful color and meaning to the table, too, as an theme-extension of the whole beet that is halachically permissible as a replacement to the zeroa (shankbone) on vegetarian seder plates.
6-8 medium-sized beets, stems and leaves attached (red, purple, gold or a mixture)
2 oranges + zest
1 small onion
1 medium avocado, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
sprig of fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Trim beets at stems, but leave unpeeled. Set beet green aside.
Wash beets thoroughly. Lightly coat beets in olive oil. Wrap whole beets individually in foil and place foil-covered beets on a baking sheet. Place into oven. Roast beets about an hour to an hour and a half or until beets are tender throughout when pierced with a knife.
Once beets are in the oven, pull beet greens from stems and coarsely chop. Submerge chopped greens in boiling water about 2 minutes, just enough to brighten and make tender. Drain greens, and pat them in-between paper towel or a clean, dry cloth to remove excess water. Place greens in a large bowl. Set aside.
Chop onion into long, thin slivers. Place into bowl with beet greens. Set aside.
Zest about ¼ of one of the oranges. Set zest aside. Working over a small bowl, segment oranges, reserving juice in the bowl below. Add orange segments to large bowl of beet greens and onion. Set aside.
In small bowl with reserved orange juice, add minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dill, orange zest and salt and pepper to taste.
When beets are tender and have cooled at least enough to handle comfortably, unwrap foil from beets completely. Rub each beat gently with a paper towel to remove skins (they will come off very easily). Chop peeled beets into thin wedges. Place chopped beets into large bowl with greens, onion and orange segments. Pour olive oil and vinegar mixture into bowl with other ingredients and toss lightly. Toss in cubed avocado. Serve immediately or refrigerate if prepared in advance.
This dish can be finished with coarsely chopped roasted/salted hazelnuts if desired.
Pronounced: SAY-der, Origin: Hebrew, literally “order”; usually used to describe the ceremonial meal and telling of the Passover story on the first two nights of Passover. (In Israel, Jews have a seder only on the first night of Passover.)