Oct 142014
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Beetroot and Nectarine Salad with Hazelnut-Rosewater Dressing


This recipe was a Winner of the Better Life UAE Summer Recipe Challenge 2015.


If you’re the sort of person who likes to control everything, here’s something you should try.


I recently ordered a box of organic fruit and vegetables to be delivered to my house by the local UAE company Greenheart Organic Farms. I know people have been ordering boxes from them since 2012, but I keep hesitating to place my order for one reason and one reason alone: I am a control freak and I like to know exactly what I’m getting.


I try to buy seasonal organic produce as much as possible, but I have always preferred to go to a shop myself to choose what I buy (and how much) rather than order a box packed by someone else. You see, I’ve got recipes in my head when I’m grocery shopping and I need to make sure that I get the right amount of ingredients to make those specific recipes.


Last week, I decided to throw caution to the wind and placed my order. I was so excited when our box arrived! It was full of green beans, basil, spring onions, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, aubergine, courgettes, capsicum, local dates, a really sweet melon, nectarines, and more. At the bottom of the box, I saw 6 beetroots. Yay, I love beetroot! And next to it, 2 potatoes. The control freak part of me started thinking, “Why would they put 6 beetroots and only 2 potatoes? What can my household of 4 people do with 6 beetroots and only 2 potatoes?”


Well, it turns out that what we can do is that we can eat a little differently from what we’ve been used to, which is a great thing! Rather than serving a side dish of potatoes with our roast chicken dinner, I made this Beetroot and Nectarine Salad with Hazelnut-Rosewater Dressing.


It was so liberating to work out a recipe by looking at my ingredients first, rather than my usual route of finding a recipe first and then tracking down the ingredients. I really enjoyed it! I can already feel some of my control freak tendencies starting to slip away.


And in case you’re wondering about those 2 potatoes, they made it into a stew along with loads of other veggies (including beetroot!).



Tell me, do you order a box of fruit and vegetables to be delivered to your door? Which company do you use? (Go on, give them a shout out!)





(Serves 4-6 as a side dish)


Dressing Ingredients:

25g / 1 oz (approx 20 pieces) hazelnuts (without their shell)

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp rosewater

1 Tbsp water


Salad Ingredients:

2-3 medium beetroots (raw or cooked)

2-3 fresh nectarines, sliced

50g / 1.5 oz feta cheese, crumbled or diced



  1. To make the dressing, you need a hand-blender, blender, or food processor. Put the hazelnuts into the machine and switch it on for about 10 seconds to start breaking up the hazelnuts. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, honey, rosewater, and water). Blend until the dressing is mostly smooth (some lumps will remain, which is fine). Set aside on the counter or in the fridge while preparing the rest of the salad.
  2. You can buy cooked beetroot in some grocery stores (not the pickled bottled type), which makes preparing them very easy –  just rinse and slice thinly. However, if you have raw beetroots you can cook them easily yourself. I usually cook more than I need and keep the extras in the fridge for other recipes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Take your beetroot and trim off any long roots or leaves (make sure you only trim those parts, don’t cut into the main body of the beetroot). Wash the beetroot well to remove any dirt. Wrap each beetroot in some aluminum foil (keep the foil join at the top), and place the wrapped beetroot in an oven-proof dish. Fill the dish with about 1 inch (2 cm) of water and place the dish in the oven. It can take between 1 and 2 hours to cook properly (mine usually take 2 hours). Top up the water if necessary in the middle of cooking. The beetroot is ready when you can cut through it easily with a knife. Once cooked, remove the beetroot from the foil and allow to cool on a plate. When cool, rub or peel off the skin. The beetroot is ready to use. Slice it thinly for this recipe.
  3. Wash and dry your nectarines. With a small paring knife, cut around the circumference of the nectarines all the way to the seed, and twist. It should separate into two, however sometimes the seed can be quite tightly attached. Remove the seed, and slice the nectarine thinly into crescents.
  4. On a platter, place 3/4 of your beetroot slices. Place the nectarine slices on top of the beetroot. Then place the remaining beetroot slices on the platter to cover any gaps. At this point, you can place the salad in the fridge to serve later the same day (if you do this, remember to remove it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving to allow it to come to a comfortable tempreature)
  5. When ready to serve, crumble your feta cheese over the salad and drizzle your Hazelnut-Rosewater Dressing on top (you may not need to use all of the dressing).
  6. Serve immediately.



Tell me, do you order a box of fruit and vegetables to be delivered to your door? Which company do you use? (Go on, give them a shout out!)



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