The past few days were pretty exciting and eventful. We had the chance and pleasure of getting together with some friends over lunch. As some of them are not Lebanese and haven’t tasted homemade Lebanese food before, the menu choice was a no-brainer. A Lebanese mezze, super easy, super delicious, worth everyone drooling over! On the menu; Lebanese tabbouleh of course, Baba ghannouj or eggplant dip, Balila (whole chickpeas appetizer), Beet salad, purslane salad, baked potato wedges, meat kebbeh, sambousek (meat filled pastry, empanadas-style) and whole baked fish with spicy sesame sauce.
For today’s post, I am going to share both the beet and purslane salads. They are both extremely nutritious and healthy. Throughout the week, I will post the rest of the recipes, so stay tuned!
Purslane is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamins (namely vitamins A and C) and minerals (namely magnesium and iron). A 100 grams (about 1 cup) has only 16 calories and provides you with 44% of your daily requirement of vitamin A, 35% of vitamin C, 25% of iron and 17% of magnesium. Since the iron in the purslane is non-heme, that is it is not readily absorbable by the body, adding a vitamin C source to it like lemon juice is important to increase its absorption.
For the purslane salad, all you have to do is pick the leaves, (wash, of course!) add a sprinkling of salt, a couple tablespoons of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. That’s it! It doesn’t need any other seasonings. It’s good with fish, chicken, meat, omelets, mujaddara (lentils and rice dish), anything, really. Adding tomatoes, cucumbers, thinly sliced onions, olives and grilled halloumi cheese to the purslane make it a very substantial and satisfying one-meal salad.
Beets are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds making them an integral part of an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer diet. One cup of cooked sliced beets has around 75 calories and is a good source of folate, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and fiber.
The Beet Salad
Ingredients (serves 6 as part of mezze, less of course if you’re having it with 1 course only)
- About 500 grams (1 pound) beets
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 2- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Boil the beets whole. Thinly slice the onion into half-moons and leave it in a couple of tablespoons lemon juice to take its edge out for 10- 15 minutes or as long as it takes you to peel and slice the beets. A trick I learned from Nigella Lawson! It works every time, the onion softens and becomes very delicate in salads. When the beets are done, use gloves to peel them or your hands will turn a bloody red color that is hard to remove! Slice them but not very thinly as you need them to maintain their buttery texture. Sprinkle with salt and add the vinegar and oil. You can use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Layer in a platter, add the onions and parsley.
I had leftovers from both salads so I mixed them together. Beets and purslane, a combo made in heaven! So good and so good for you!