Liver Supporting Beet Salad
- Published on: 14 September, 2016
- Last update: 25 September, 2020
Today I present you with my new favorite go-to salad. I’ve been working out a lot lately (as you’ll see in upcoming YouTube vlogs) and my goal is to get in the best shape of my LIFE this year! That translates to eating a lot of leafy greens for amino acids, minerals, muscle repair and fat loss – so having a tasty recipe like this really comes in handy.
A lot of what I eat and ingest in terms of herbs/supplements is geared towards protecting my liver for the long haul. It’s so important to take care of your liver in our modern world where chemicals and heavy metals permeate our food and water supply.
A healthy liver:
1) Allows your body to detoxify both water AND fat-soluble toxins,
2) Balances and processes many of your hormones so that your menstruation, mental health, weight, and skin are at their best; and
3) Prevents abdominal fat accumulation.
Here are some reasons why this salad works so well from both a Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective:
- BEETS – Beets include betaine, which helps the liver cells release bile and eliminate toxins; pectin, a fiber which clears the toxins that have been removed from the liver so they don’t reincorporate back into the body; and betalains, pigments with high anti-inflammatory properties to encourage the detoxification process. They also improve your stomach acid levels so that you can completely digest the nutrients in your food (which leads to weight loss and the building of new lean muscle). I talk about beets improving stomach acid (and many other solutions) in this post. In TCM, beets are considered cool and sweet and are used to treat anemia, heart weakness, irritability, restlessness, constipation, herpes, and liver diseases.
- ORANGE PEEL – This salad & dressing contain both oranges pieces and grated orange peel (which is healthier than the orange itself!) Citrus peel is known to improve digestion and speed metabolism. The flavonoids within the peel have also been shown to inhibit the RLIP76 protein, which is linked to both cancer and obesity. “In fact, when you get rid of the RLIP76 gene in a mouse, it appears that the mouse can’t get obese, and can’t develop diabetes, high cholesterol, or cancer.” – Sanjay Awasthi, M.D., professor in the Division of Molecular Diabetes Research at City of Hope hospital. In TCM, orange peel is used to ease indigestion, bloating, insomnia, and to stimulate metabolism.
- WALNUTS – Scientists have found that eating a diet rich in walnuts and olive oil can lead to the same amount of weight loss as a lower fat, higher carbohydrate diet. Walnuts are a nutrient-dense food, packing high ratios of the minerals manganese and copper, as well an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid that helps to block the metabolic processes causing inflammation, which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. In TCM, walnuts are associated with the Lung, Large Intestine and Kidney meridians, and have sweet and warm properties. Its functions are to tonify the kidneys, nourish the blood, warm the lungs and moisten the intestines. Typically, walnuts are used to treat pain and weakness in the knees and back, aid in digestion, and relieve asthma. Recent evidence suggests walnuts may play a role in lowering blood cholesterol levels, thus reducing the incidence of some forms of heart disease.
The Recipe (serves 6)
This recipe is courtesy of the lovely Julia Child’s book. I was reminded of her genius recently after watching Julie & Julia on the plane recently 🙂
- 2 1/2 lbs. fresh beets
- 1 cup water
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 oranges
- 1 large shallot
- 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large bag of arugula
- 1/2 cup walnut halves (toasted at 325 F for 8 to 10 minutes, optional: drizzle with honey before toasting)
- Preparing the Beets – 1 hour: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Wash the beets and cut away the tops and tails. Place in a large 8×10 baking dish, pour in the 1 cup water, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (or longer), until the beets are tender enough to be pierced easily with a toothpick or small knife. Remove foil, let the beets cool, and then peel them over the sink (their skins will rub off easily). Slice the beets very thin; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Preparing the Oranges: Grate the zest of 1 orange into a small bowl (be careful not to grate far down and include the white pith). Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice from one half into the grated zest. Set the second half aside in case you want to add more juice in the dressing – if not, you can cut this half into slices for the salad later. Cut the remaining two oranges into thin slices and set aside for the salad.
- The Vinaigrette: Peel the shallot, dice finely, and stir immediately into the orange juice and zest. Add salt. Whisk the vinegar and then the oil into the bowl. Taste and determine if more oil or vinegar is needed to fit your liking, or even juice from the reserved orange half. The sauce should be on the acidic side, to balance the sweetness of the oranges and beets.
- To serve: Arrange the arugula on a large plate or platter. Spoon a few tablespoons of vinaigrette over the beets, toss to coat evenly, and then place over the greens. Lay orange slices around the platter and scatter walnuts over the top. Spoon on enough vinaigrette to coat the salad. Enjoy!
Don’t let this pretty face fool you… he’s a menace 😉 But he sure makes a darn good salad. Thank you Nick for preparing this recipe for the blog! We love you! x