This salad is made using fresh beetroots, not jarred. Fresh beetroots have a really nice earthy flavor, without the overpowering acidic sting that invariably accompanies the bottled crinkle-cut variety. Feta gives the salad a soft sharpness, and celery or cucumber bring a refreshing crunch. I’ve dressed the salad with a simple Orange Vinaigrette.
Fresh beetroot is very simple to prepare (see directions below). You can even buy vacuum-packed cooked beetroots which can be used if you don’t want to cook them yourself.
The one thing you need to accept when you are making a beetroot salad is that it will turn anything which comes into contact with it magenta. For this reason, I prefer to make beetroot the dominant ingredient so that the entire salad is an attractive bright magenta, rather than just streaked indiscriminately.
[TIP: Working with beetroot is messy, so always remember to wear and apron when dealing with beetroots to avoid stains on your clothes!]
BEETROOT AND FETA SALAD WITH ORANGE VINAIGRETTE
(Serves 4 as a side salad)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp orange juice (Freshly squeezed orange juice is best, but bottled juice is also fine)
2 tsp orange zest (Optional. TIP: If using, remember to zest the orange before juicing it!)
Generous pinch of salt
400g fresh beetroot (approximately 2 medium sized beetroots)
100g feta cheese, cubed
2 celery sticks or 1 large cucumber, diced
- Prepare the Orange Vinaigrette by shaking all the dressing ingredients together in a jar with a lid. Keep the dressing to the side while you prepare the salad.
- The beetroot needs to be prepared in advance, but it is very easy. (TIP: Remember to wear an apron!) Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Cut the stalks and leaves off the beetroot. Wash the beetroot well, removing any roots from the skin, cover in foil, and bake in an oven-proof dish for 40 minutes to 1 hour. You should be able to pierce the beetroot easily with a skewer. Remove the beetroot from the foil and allow to cool to room temperature. The skin should peel off easily. Dice into small cubes. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
- Combine the diced beetroot, feta and celery/cucumber in a bowl. Add the dressing and fold everything together gently to avoid the feta from crumbling too much.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.