Salads are not my “thing,” and I’ve never understood people who can eat a salad for lunch or dinner and have enough energy to live for the next few hours. If I make a salad for us at home, it’s generally just a leaf that I like – spinach, rocket or watercress – with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. I break out the cherry tomatoes if I’m feeling generous. But veggies are a favourite of mine, and I enjoy doing creative things with them with the right inspiration.
When I lived in Ukraine for three months, I was introduced to the world of beets. They were everywhere, the gigantic, sandy orbs of brown that after boiling in a pot, bled the most red juice imaginable. After a bit of research, I also found out that beets are one of the best kinds of veggies out there – a superfood, whatever that means. It is full of antioxidants, B vitamins and other goodies, and it is so naturally filled with flavour. Ukrainians primarily ate beets in salads, so I started making one of them while I was there. Since then, I usually boil the beet, peel it, slice, add salt and pepper and eat.
I had to take a salad to a dinner a few nights ago though, and went hunting for a salad recipe that looked interesting because, as previously mentioned, I don’t really “do” salads. This warm salad recipe from Taste looked great, and after a few modifications, I loved it. It was very easy to prepare, all that needs to be remembered is to put the beets in the oven 45 minutes to an hour before you want to start making the salad.
- Warm Beetroot Salad I followed the recipe unless I didn’t have an ingredient. So I used real beets instead of baby beets, and spinach instead of the silverbeet. Roast the beets in a hot oven for as long as it takes for them to cook, remove, peel and cut into manageable pieces (I did squares). Chop walnuts – I used pecans because it’s what I had – and toss in a pan with chopped garlic and olive oil. Don’t let anything burn, the point is to let the garlic infuse with the oil and for the nuts to get the flavour as well. Turn off the fire and toss the spinach leaves in there as well but do this QUICKLY because you don’t want the leaves to wilt. They should be in there enough to get warm but removed before they really “cook.” Toss with the chopped beets, crumble feta cheese on top and add a bit of red wine vinegar to finish.