Some decades ago I was on a business trip to Paris and had crudités - basically raw vegetables with a dressing - for the first time. Crunching through the veg seemed like a healthy way to start the meal. In the UK we tended not to start with anything crunchy. Sometimes I do not understand why more people do not try raw beetroot when in season - I much prefer it to the boiled in the bag or picked stuff.
I quite like some things in Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's book River Cottage Year and he features a beetroot, pear and apple salad that I find a great light way to start a meal in the Autumn and early Winter.
The following is what we do:
1 large, hard conference pear (150-200 g)
1 hard cox apple
1-2 beetroots (depending on size, need about 150 g)
half lemon (or whole lime)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1. Shred pear, apple and beetroots into thin strips (I use a mandoline with shredder attachment)
2. Squeeze half lemon (or the lime), then mix juice with vegetable oil
3. Sprinkle shredded vegetables with salt and pepper, add lemon and oil dressing and toss
Unlike Hugh I do not bother peeling the apple or pear if the skin is good. The lemon juice helps to prevent the apple and pear browning (they go pink with the beetroot juice). It is worth serving soon after making if the beetroot, apple and pear are to be crisp.