Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Beet and Carrot Salad

Marnina had not eaten a salad in almost 8 years….until last week.  And no, we are not talking about tuna salad, egg salad, or any of those ‘salad’ imitations.  We are talking about the traditional salad—lettuce mixed with veggies.   We have known that iceberg lettuce is low fiber and has a high water content, but Marnina had been too nervous to experiment with it because it is still roughage, and the mechanical and chemical digestion that occurs in her body may not break it down enough for her already diseased intestines.  Last week however, Marnina decided she would try it.  We ate a small bowl of salad as the first course of our meal.  Eating a salad before our meal was weird but at the same time comforting. Our salad comprised ONLY of iceberg lettuce and salad dressing (Marnina cannot eat cucumbers or any other raw vegetables).  Marnina made sure to pair her salad with the rest of her meal so that the lettuce would not be digested alone. Then she entered what she likes to call “the waiting period”—the period up until 24 hours after eating a certain food to see if she will get sick. She had succeeded! She did not get sick.

Marnina then took a leap and started making colorful and varied salads, using IBD-friendly ingredients such as iceberg lettuce, roasted beets and butternut squash, avocados, and sautéed onions and mushrooms.  Suddenly, we were both experimenting with new types of salads and ate salad for a majority of our lunches last week.  This became somewhat problematic for Marnina.  Her body became less tolerant of the lettuce the more frequently she ate it. Ultimately she took a break and avoided the iceberg lettuce over the weekend. Then, after not eating salad for three days, she tried it again, pairing it with the rest of her meal and she had no problems digesting it. She had learned her lesson: She could eat iceberg lettuce, but only in moderation and when she was feeling good. Lettuce would be a treat that she could enjoy once or twice every week or two weeks.

Note: Marnina will still completely avoid any leafy lettuce such as romaine and spinach. These are very high in fiber and extremely hard to digest. She will stick to iceberg for now.

Here is a recipe that we tried for a salad that is cooked, IBD-friendly, super healthy, and a beautiful shade of purple.  The recipe pairs beets with carrots and orange juice which are sautéed into a purple type of cooked slaw.   When cooking the vegetables we sautéed them for much longer than the recipe called for to ensure that they were soft. Carrots are not “Marnina-friendly” if they are consumed raw!

Pictures and recipe below:

 Artsy picture of beets and carrot.

Yours truly grating carrots and beets.  No cuts  suffered!

The beets did leave their mark on me however.

Grated beets and carrots before they are sauteed.

Heating up the butter.

Beets and carrots simmering in the orange juice.

By the end of the cooking process, the beets purple color had completely covered any hint of orange from the carrots + orange juice.



1 beet about the size of your fist
1 medium size carrot
1 Tablespoon olive oil (1 Tablespoon butter or margarine work as well)
3/4 cup of orange juice
A couple of sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper


Grate the beet and the carrot.  Heat the oil in the skillet on medium heat. Add the carrot and the beet and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the orange juice and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Taste the salad to make sure that it is cooked enough.  The liquid should be mostly absorbed and/or boiled off by the end of the cooking process. Take off heat and enjoy.

Adapted from Moosewood Cookbook


Comments on: "Beet and Carrot Salad" (1)

  1. I love beets! Can’t wait to try this 🙂

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