The Comfort of Apples: Healthy Citrus Beet and Apple Salad


This year, we experienced a bountiful harvest from our backyard apple tree. We think it’s a Macintosh - at least that’s what the apples taste like to me. When I asked my husband, Paul, what type of tree he planted, he said, “The nursery told me it as a miniature apple tree.” I have to laugh as the darn thing is over 24 feet tall – and growing.

Last year, we harvested four apples. Then Paul found out you have to trim back the branches, which he did last winter wondering if he had killed the poor thing. I guess not, because the tree took off – by the barrelful. I guesstimate to have cooked at least 200 cups of apples since September. Unfortunately, almost as much has gone into the trash and composter since the apples get partially eaten by birds and insects or fall to the ground and bruise before we can pick them.

The Comfort of Apples cookbook

When a review copy of The Comfort of Apples: Modern Recipes for an Old-Fashioned Favorite by Philip and Lauren Rubin arrived in the mail, I was excited to find some new types of apple recipes. After all, how many apple pies, apple sauce, apple butter, dried apples and apple fruit leather can one person make? (A lot!) Unfortunately, I was disappointed. First, there weren’t any pictures of the dishes, just lots of generic pictures of apple orchards, apple trees and cooking equipment.

Then while the recipes looked delicious – Lamb and Mascarpone Ravioli, Tandoori Quesadilla, and Crispy Duck and Egg Scramble – the authors’ use of apple seemed to be an afterthought. Of course, when it came to desserts and sides – Apple Cake, Apple Chutney, and Apple Ice Cream – apple was the star of the show. But the cookbook wasn’t the encouragement I needed to use up all those apples before they rotted.

Even so, The Comfort of Apples did provide some inspiration, like this fairly healthy recipe for beet and apple salad. I made several changes to it including cutting back the amount of olive oil and adding more beets and apples. It’s also a huge amount of salad, so you may want to halve my recipe. Still, the leftovers taste even better the next day!

Healthy Citrus Beet and Apple Salad

Serves 12

The Comfort of Apples Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of beets (6 medium beets – about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 6 whole cloves
  • Cooking spray or 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup of unsweetened, grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed or bottled)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 small to medium apples (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups diced red onion
  • 2 avocadoes
  • 1/2 pound of blue cheese, crumbled


  1. Prepare beets according to the directions in How to cook and peel beets. Let beets cool. Then dice and set aside.
  2. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Spray with a cooking spray or add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to lightly coat the pan.
  3. Pour the pine nuts into the heated pan and fry until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Toss or stir frequently and make sure not to burn them!
  4. Place 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the curry powder in a small bowl. Add the toasted pine nuts and toss with a spoon to cover. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl whisk olive oil with grapefruit juice. (I like to use a Pampered Chef’s Measure, Mix & Pour™ to whisk dressing.) Set aside.
  6. Cut the apples into 1/4 inch dice. (Leave the peel on if you’re using organic apples. Remove if you are not.) Place apples along with beets and onions in a large salad bowl. Gently toss with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. (If you chill it longer, the olive oil will begin to congeal. If this happens, remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving to let the olive oil liquefy.)
  7. Before serving, cut the avocado into thin slices.
  8. Divide the salad among 8 bowls or plates.
  9. Insert an avocado slice or two evenly throughout the salad. Or serve on the side or across the top. The idea is to have a little avocado with each bite.
  10. Sprinkle with blue cheese and curried pine nuts.

Nutritional information

  • Calories 370
  • Calories from Fat 275
  • Total Fat 30.6g
  • Saturated Fat 6.9g
  • Cholesterol 14mg
  • Sodium 362mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 21.3g
  • Dietary Fiber 5.5g
  • Sugars 13.6g
  • Protein 6.6g

Nutrition Grade B- from CalorieCount

Weight Watchers POINTS = 9

Nutritional information without blue cheese and avocado

My kids weren’t too keen on the blue cheese and avocado and preferred the beet and apple salad without them.

  • Calories 250
  • Calories from Fat 182
  • Total Fat 20.2g
  • Saturated Fat 2.7g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 96mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 18.0g
  • Dietary Fiber 3.3g
  • Sugars 13.3g
  • Protein 1.9g

Nutrition Grade B- from CalorieCount

Weight Watchers POINTS = 6

This Mama’s tips

  • Lower the fat and calorie content by cutting back on the oil, and eliminating or cutting back on the pine nuts, blue cheese and avocado. Yes, they all add unique flavors and textures to the salad, but most of the flavor comes from the beets, onions, apples and grapefruit juice. It’s pretty darn good without the extras.
  • If you’re not squeezing your own grapefruit juice, use .R.W. Knudsen Family® Organic Grapefruit Juice. It’s terrific by itself or with a little seltzer water, too. Or you can make yourself a Greyhound with the leftover juice and some vodka.
  • What type of blue cheese should you use? Well, I’ve never met one I didn’t like. You can buy the type that’s already crumbled. Or you can splurge and buy some Maytag Blue from Sam’s Club. If you’re going to indulge, pick the very best!
  • Kids may be alarmed by having a red bowel movement after eating beets. It’s best to warn them or they could come running out of the bathroom convinced they are bleeding to death, just like my son did.

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