This beet carpaccio is an easy and healthy vegan alternative to the traditional dish. It’s fresh and delicious with a slightly sweet and earthy flavor. You can serve beet carpaccio as an appetizer, side dish, or even atop a salad.
This beet carpaccio is a vegan take on beef carpaccio, a classic side dish usually made from raw beef. It’s light, refreshing, and healthy, with a beautiful vibrant red color. The recipe is rich in folate, iron, vitamin K, fiber, and healthy fats and, when eaten in place of red meat, may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Beet carpaccio is an allergen and dietary restriction-friendly dish–it’s vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free. It’s also an excellent substitute for people trying to reduce their intake of red meat.
Serve as an appetizer, or try it on top of an arugula salad with a side of crusty bread for a more substantial dish. Light and refreshing, you’ll find yourself coming back for seconds of this simple beet carpaccio!
What is Carpaccio?
Carpaccio is an appetizer made from thinly sliced raw beef served with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. It’s a traditional Italian dish you can prepare from many different foods–raw fish, lamb, or even vegetables, like beets!
The dish was named after Vittore Carpaccio, an Italian artist known for using vibrant red paint. This beet carpaccio recipe has the same bright red color as raw beef but imparts a fresh, earthy flavor and a slightly crisp texture.
Beets. Thinly sliced raw beets are the star of this dish– you can get creative with red, yellow, white, or striped beets, though red beets will look the closest to the traditional dish. If you dislike the taste of red beets, golden beets have more sweetness and don’t taste as earthy.
Regular consumption of beets is known to help reduce elevated blood pressure, and this effect is more potent when beets are eaten raw. In addition, the red and yellow pigments found in beets are anti-inflammatory.
This dish is especially healthy because the red meat in the traditional recipe, which is high in saturated fat, is replaced by beets, which contain almost no fat.
Olive Oil. Use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil for this dish. Because this recipe is made from only a few ingredients, we want each component to shine. Olive oil helps coat the beets and offers a rich flavor to balance out their fresh, earthy flavor.
Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat, primarily consisting of unsaturated fatty acids. Regular consumption of olive oil can help lower your cholesterol while decreasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lemon. A squeeze of lemon juice adds some brightness and acidity, which contributes to the delicate, balanced flavors of the dish. In addition, lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant beneficial for immune health.
Basil. Fresh basil adds depth to the simple flavor of the dish while providing a pop of green. Sweet basil is the best variety for this recipe since it is easy to find and commonly used in Italian cooking. Basil is a source of fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and K, as well as antioxidants.
Watercress. Watercress is a leafy green garnish that contributes a peppery taste to this beet carpaccio. You can find watercress at most grocery stores, usually located in the salad greens section of the produce department.
Watercress is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, along with broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These green veggies may help lower your risk of heart disease. Watercress is also rich in vitamin K, an important nutrient for bone health and blood clotting
How to Make Beet Carpaccio
This fresh and easy beet carpaccio dish takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and will become a nutritious staple in your meal plan.
- Start by washing and scrubbing your beets, then pat dry. Cut off the tops and bottoms. Though you can eat the skin, you may prefer to peel your beets.
- Using a mandolin*, finely slice the beets. If you don’t have a mandolin, use a sharp knife to cut the beets into 1-millimeter slices. This can be tricky due to the firm texture of raw beets, so be sure to watch your fingers.
- Arrange the beets on your serving platter or plate, then drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
- Lastly, top the beets with fresh basil leaves and watercress. Enjoy fresh!
*Note: Though not essential, a mandolin is highly recommended to ensure the beet slices are paper-thin.
Try cooked beets. If you’d like to enjoy this dish but dislike the flavor or texture of raw beets, this recipe works well with cooked beets. Roast the beets whole after washing and trimming. You can do this by wrapping each beet in foil and roasting them in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees F.
Then, once they are cooled, thinly slice the beets and follow the rest of the recipe as written. The final texture will be soft and tender, similar to traditional beef carpaccio.
Toss the ingredients before serving. For extra flavor, toss the beets in a small bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper before serving with the fresh greens. This method allows the beets to become well-coated and slightly more tender.
Keep it interesting. This beet carpaccio recipe is simple yet flavorful and pairs well with many foods. Consider serving it on top of an arugula salad with a zesty vinaigrette and a hearty chunk of bread. Or keep it as a side dish and add extras like goat cheese, walnuts, or pear slices.
If you’re eating it as a main dish, be sure to add a protein source to balance the meal.
It’s best to store leftover components of this dish in the refrigerator unassembled. Raw sliced beets will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days. If you have leftovers from the finished dish, you can store them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but the greens might become wilted.
You can also freeze raw beets, though it’s not recommended to freeze the fully assembled beet carpaccio dish. Slice your beets, freeze them on a cookie sheet to avoid sticking, then once fully frozen, add them to an airtight freezer bag and store for up to a year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it ok to eat raw beets?
Yes! It’s absolutely safe to eat raw beets. In fact, raw beets have even more nutrients and antioxidants than cooked beets.
Do you need to peel beets?
You do not need to peel beets since the skin is edible. Some people prefer eating beets without the skin due to the texture. Beet skin contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so leave it on if you don’t mind the texture! Just be sure to thoroughly scrub your beets to remove any dirt stuck to the outside.
How do you make raw beets taste good?
You may only be used to eating beets after cooking them. The best way to season raw beets is to add an acidic dressing, like lemon juice or vinegar, along with salt. This helps bring out the beets’ mild, earthy flavor while ensuring they don’t taste bitter. You’ll also want to ensure they are very thinly sliced or grated to make them easier to chew.
Try These Other Beet Recipes
On a beet kick? Keep it interesting by trying some of our other delicious beet recipes.
- 21 Best Beet Recipes – From roasted beets to pickled beets, there’s something here for everyone.
- Fresh Vegetable Juice – Learn how to make the best beet juice.
- Beet Barley Risotto – A hearty, vibrant, and nutritious side dish.
- 2-3 beets small, any variety
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper fresh ground
- basil fresh leaves
- watercress fresh
- Shave the beetroot finely. It’s easiest to use a mandolin to do this, but if you don’t have one just use a very sharp knife (and mind your fingers!!)
- Lay out the slices on a plate, drizzle with Olive oil, and sprinkle on some good quality sea salt, cracked black pepper, basil leaves and watercress.
- Enjoy fresh.
Images by Lauren Caris Short.