When I see salad recipes I read barely any further than the ingredient list. The idea being that most salads are just things thrown together in a bowl. But this recipe includes a technique that is a surprisingly, unexpectedly, delicious way of preparing beetroot. That and the fact that beetroot and orange are a match made in foodie heaven. In fact I would even go so far as to say that it is a flavour combo to put into your memory right next to basil and tomato or avocado, lemon and salt. It is that good! And this is not to even mention the deliciously sweet activated walnuts!
And then there is the goat cheese. Everything is a little better with a bit of goat cheese! This salad is easily good enough to be the centrepiece of any meal – even at a dinner party – I tell you no lie. It is that hearty and that good. But of course it can just be served as a side to any meal. If you want to pare it back (or make it vegan) you can simply prepare an orange beetroot salad with no goat’s cheese and still be perfectly satisfied.
Ingredients (serves one as a large side salad but scale up for larger servings):
- 2 medium beetroots
- 3 oranges juiced
- 1 orange cut into segments
- 100g chèvre (or similar) goat’s cheese
- 50g activated walnuts
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salad Dressing Ingredients:
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
Peel and chop the beetroot into wedges and put into a pot. Pour in the juice of 3 oranges. It is definitely best to use freshly squeezed juice here, but if that is absolutely not an option and can use bottled juice (about 1 cup) as a last resort.
Add enough water to just cover the beetroot in the pot. You may have to add more water or juice later if the liquid evaporates before the beetroot is cooked. But you want the juices to be completely evaporated by the time the beetroot is done so be conservative on the water initially.
Cook beetroot until it is soft to the feel when you poke it with a fork. Also make sure that most of the liquid is evaporated by this time. The cooking time for the beetroot is about 20 minutes.
Then add a generous lashing of extra virgin olive oil – this will help stop the beetroot leaching red everywhere. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. The beetroot will look shiny, lustrous and absolutely delicious by this point.
While cooking the beetroot, heat up a frying pan over a low heat and add walnuts. Dry roast them for 5-10 minutes. Watch them closely and stir as needed so they don’t burn. Once they are done squeeze over a generous amount of lemon juice and add salt. Leave the walnuts in a bowl to cool down and turn crunchy.
Cut the orange into segments by first peeling it and then cutting it into the segments between the membrane with a knife. This is fiddly work but worth it for the look and texture it will achieve. If you find this too difficult, you can just slice the orange into small segments in the usual way.
Mix up the dressing to taste. Generally you want a 3:1 ratio of oil to lemon juice. But as each lemon varies you need to taste. The dressing should taste slightly more sour and salty than you would like as this will be tempered down once you add it to the salad.
Then assemble all of the ingredients into a bowl and pour over the dressing.
Voila! Beetroot salad NOM NOM!