Wednesday 20 November 2013

Raw beetroot, citrus, and walnut salad

I never have been a huge fan of beetroot.  When we got boxes from the farm every week, I always stared resentfully at the pound or more of beetroot they would send when it was in season.  I baked with it a few times, put it in a gratin a few times, boiled it for salads, and even put its cooked form in burgers (something I highly recommend).  Mostly, though, it stayed in the fridge until it started growing things and was then chucked out.

But yesterday, having decided on making lasagne as the main for dinner (using the frozen batch of bolognese sauce leftover from the last time I made it), I thought I'd try something different for our salad. Scanning the produce aisles, I saw little bundles of beetroot winking at me.  More rich in vitamin C than pretty much anything, it seemed a wise choice for a household afflicted with illness.  But how to cook it?  I went home and consulted my newish Veg Every Day book and saw a raw beetroot salad that sounded appealing, since it meant I didn't have to cook anything to make it.

So first I peeled the beetroot (wearing gloves - this stuff's juice can get everywhere if you aren't careful) and put it through the coarse grater on my Magimix. I don't miss the days of doing this by hand, though it would have been easy enough.

Then in went the juice of a small orange and half a lemon.

Then a dash of olive oil and a handful of parsley.

While I let that all soak together, I toasted some walnuts in a dry pan.  You're supposed to add cumin seeds too, but I had forgotten that I used mine up last week, so we went without.

I also decided to throw in some apple chunks.  This was an attempt to lure the children into trying the salad.  It didn't work all that well on them, but the apple was nice in the salad.

Then right before serving, I bashed the walnuts a bit and threw them on top

Then mixed it all up

It was really nice.  Not cooking the beetroot gave it a fresh, crunchy texture, and the magenta vegetable looked so bright and cheerful on the plate, all contrasting well with the soft, creamy lasagne.  I'd be tempted to add in some of the citrus zest next time, too.

Beetroot with walnuts and apple 
adapted from Veg Every Day

75g walnuts
About 400g beetroot
A good handful of parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 small orange
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil (or rapeseed oil)
1 apple, chopped
Salt and pepper

Peel the beetroot and grate it coarsely, whether it be by hand or machine, and put into a bowl.  Add the parsley, orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper.  Give it a good mix and leave for 20 minutes or so.

Toast the walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes, until they smell toasted and are starting to colour in a few places.  Bash them a bit with pestle and mortar.

Add apple and walnuts to salad, stir to combine and serve.

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