‘Just bring a salad’ – words guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of even the most organised cook. I love the salads that I make and serve at home, but I’m really not convinced that they travel that well. And the very last thing I want to do when I get to the party is to start messing about with dressings, bowl, whisks etc. This more-than-robust beetroot salad will arrive in perfect condition at its destination, and is such a delicious combination of sweet/sharp/earthy and creamy that it will disappear in no time..
My good friend Julie gave me half a dozen of her home-grown, organic, stalks-and-leaves-still-attached Beetroot last weekend. They deserved the best ingredients that I could find. I’m very pleased with this recipe, so I’m happy to be sharing the result with you..
- A medium-large Pyrex casserole *see NOTES*, or a large piece of Tin foil and a baking tray.
- a medium-large glass bowl
INGREDIENTS: These ingredients will serve about 15-20 people for a buffet, but it’s the sort of salad that has you going back for just another spoonful at home, and will keep very well for several days in the fridge, so don’t worry too much about over-catering!
- 6 small fresh (or cooked – see NOTES) beetroot.
- Olive oil
- The stalks of the beets if they’re fresh – well washed and chopped into 1cm lengths
- 1 medium/2 small red onions, sliced into thin crescents
- 150g Puy Lentils, well rinsed
- 1-2 cloves of Garlic
- Balsamic Vinegar – 3-4 tablespoonfuls
- 150g Goats’ cheese of your choice
- Scrub the beets and put into a casserole or onto the tinfoil on the baking tray, drizzle with Olive oil, salt well, cover and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
- While the beets are cooking, chop the Beetroot stalks if using and place them and the sliced red onion into the bowl.
- Grate over the garlic.
- Rinse the Lentils well, then cook them as per the packet instructions until tender (it took about 20 minutes today)
- Once the Lentils are cooked, drain them well, the add immediately to the glass bowl with the onions etc. Stir in well.
- When the Beetroot is cooked, the skin should more or less rub off. Roughly chop the Beetroot into different-sized pieces, and add to the glass bowl.
- The warm ingredients will slightly cook the raw vegetables, which keeps them crunchy and given a great contrast in texture.
- Add the Balsamic vinegar, and some more salt and stir it all together.
- Cover, and leave to one side until cool – taste and adjust the seasoning as required.
- Shortly before serving (or leaving the house!) give the salad one last really good stir, and taste it again, then slice the goats cheese, or take small teaspoonfuls, depending on your cheese, and add to the salad – keep a few pieces back for decorating the top.
- To travel – put the salad into a glass container, or seal securely with clingfilm, the put it into a sealed container or plastic bag for transport.
- Please use all-glass or Pyrex bowls and dishes when using beetroot. If you use plastic, your lovely new containers are going to be a charming pink colour for the rest of their days..
- If you’re using ready-cooked Beetroot, reheat it as per the packet instructions, then cut it up and add to the bowl as above.
- If you can, use the best Balsamic vinegar that you can afford – I have a special, ‘aged’ bottle for ‘special ingredient’ occasions! I got a delicious Raspberry-flavoured vinegar from a good friend last Christmas and it would be wonderful in this salad too (if there was any left..).
- I haven’t had a chance to try this alternative, but I have a feeling that some fried-off halloumi cut into thin fingers, would be an excellent addition to this salad..
- I used plastic gloves while I was peeling the beetroot – it’s messy stuff!