I’m trying to distract myself today from the unexpected UK General Election results – out of nowhere we were flooded by a sea of blue! As an emotional eater I’ll cope the only way I know how – food. What better way with salad…or more precisely Beetroot Salad with Feta and Honey Vinaigrette.
Beetroot is my kind of vegetable. All sweetness and light but with an earthy heart which makes them great raw like in this beetroot and feta salad, roasted or pickled. No matter how you serve up beets, I’ll happily eat them. There’s something incredibly satisfying about the way root vegetables need a little scrub under water to brush off some of the dirt before preparing. Seeing the pink skin and crumbly earth under the tap makes my mouth water – I just want to sink my teeth in for that distinctive beetroot flavour.
I also love beetroot for their rich, vibrant colours. You’d be forgiven for automatically thinking of the characteristic plum purple when you hear the word beetroot but delve a little deeper into the many varieties and you’ll find orange, yellow, pastel pinks and bright magenta. Some even have candy cane stripes running through their hearts, perfectly matching their sweet flavour.
This beetroot salad is now one of my favourite ways to show off the humble beetroot. It uses a variety of different beetroot both raw and pickled for different flavours and textures. Don’t be put off though, if you can’t get hold of heritage beetroot just stick to the fresh beetroot in your local store. They will taste just as delicious!
Beetroot salad – the recipe
- 3 colourful heritage beetroot
- 1 large pickled beetroot
- 250g feta
- 2 shallots
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp vinegar from the pickled beetroot (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut off the tops and bottoms of the beetroot and peel.
- Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the raw and pickled beetroot into thin slices.
- Next peel and slice the shallots thinly.
- Mix the olive oil, honey, vinegar and dried oregano in a dressing bottle.
- Taste before adding salt and pepper to your taste. Bear in mind that the feta will be salty too!
- Place the spinach, beetroot and shallots in a bowl.
- Toss together with the salad dressing.
- Arrange on the plate before crumbling the feta on top.
I think this beetroot and feta works so well because it takes your mouth on a journey. The raw, crisp beetroot gives you a taste of the earth, the pickled beetroot gives you the sweet and sour contrast and the feta then balances the whole dish by adding a salty dimension bringing your journey full circle. It also looks incredibly pretty with yellows, oranges, pinks and purples jumping off the white plate – this really is a simple summer salad.
If you still need convincing as to why you should give this simple beetroot and feta salad recipe a try, then perhaps some of these facts take from Love Beetroot (www.lovebeetroot.co.uk) will convince you:
- Beetroot contains essential minerals and vitamins such as potassium, magnesium, iron, it A, B6 and C as well as folic acid.
- Just three baby beetroot equal one of your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day!
- Beetroot has been proven to reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as lower cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar.
- Beetroot contains the powerful antioxidant betacyanin.
- Eating beetroot can even help to slow the progression of dementia!
I know beetroot can be one of those vegetables that people love or hate – but I think this beetroot salad recipe might just win you over (at the very least it will take your mind off of the colour blue….).