How do you feel about beetroot? If I’m completely honest, it’s never been my favorite vegetable. In fact until recently, the last time I ate beetroot was when I was about 6 years old. The story goes like this…
At six years of age, I was the family’s fussy eater. Mum was as patient as she could be with me. She indulged my rule of “I will only drink milk if it’s pink”, as well as other random food-related demands.
One day, I was sitting at the kitchen bench for lunch. Mum had made me a lovely, fresh salad sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and tinned beetroot. Harmless right? I mean, who doesn’t like a salad sandwich? Apparently I didn’t. At least, not with that suspicious-looking deep red vegetable inside that smelled like earth.
“Yuck! I am not eating that.” I cried in disgust.
“Paula,” said Mum in a measured tone, “Please at least try it. I went to a lot of trouble to make that for you.”
“But I don’t like it.” I said
“You haven’t even tried it. Just have one bite, you might like it.” Mum said optimistically.
“I don’t want it. I hate that red stuff.” I wined as only a 6 year old can.
Like I said, my Mum was incredibly patient with me. But that last comment pushed her over the edge. Mum lost it and told me off as only a Mum of a fussy eater at her wit’s end can.
Now, having been a fussy eater as well as mum of one I can safely say that yelling at someone to eat is the quickest way to put them off that food for good. Same goes for making them sit at the table until they have cleaned their plate (I’m looking at you fried liver).
Needless to say, from that day on I vowed never to touch a piece of beetroot ever again. And I didn’t. That was, until I became a vegetarian.
As a vegetarian I want to get as much variety as I can. Different vegetables contain different types and amounts of nutrients so it pays to mix it up. It no longer made sense to avoid certain veggies because of a decision made by 6 year old me as an act of defiance.
So I decided to try beetroot again but this time, instead of the tinned kind, I would buy it fresh and roast it. Everything tastes better roasted right? I found that roasting beetroot softens the texture and flavour allowing it’s earthy nuttiness to shine. Basically, it makes it super yum!
Which brings me to today’s salad…
Not only is my Roasted Beetroot Salad with Feta and Walnuts a delicious way to serve this amazing root veggie, but it’s perfect for this time of year. Did someone say, “Annual Work Holiday Potluck”?
The boldness of the colours and textures make this salad impressive to look at and to eat. But best of all, it’s incredibly simple to throw together. Drizzle some balsamic glaze over the top and you’ve got yourself an elegant, tasty salad that can be served with a variety of dishes. Furthermore, if your store all the ingredients separately it makes a fab packed lunch. Who needs UberEATS? 😉
Roasted Beetroot Salad with Feta and Walnuts
2-3 bulbs of beetroot
200g packet baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup chickpeas (tinned or from scratch)
1/2 cup Australian Feta (cut into 1cm cubes)
1/4 cup walnuts (roughly broken up with your hands)
1 tbs balsamic glaze (store bought or from scratch)
- Start by roasting your beetroot. Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Give your beetroot bulbs a really good wash, and top and tail them. Coarsely chop, toss in some olive oil and spread onto a roasting tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and put them in the oven to roast for around 30 minutes.
- Once your beetroot is roasted and has had time to cool down slightly you can assemble your salad. When I’m making it for a crowd, I like to present this salad on a platter. This prevents the smaller ingredients (like the chickpeas and walnuts) from falling to the bottom of the bowl where no one can get to them.
- First you cover the bottom of the platter with the baby spinach, next comes your roasted beetroot, then the chickpeas, feta, and finally the walnuts. I like to break the walnut pieces up in my hand as I sprinkle them over the salad. This helps to distribute them and gives you yummy bite-size pieces.
- Right before serving time, drizzle the salad with some balsamic glaze, place in the center of your table and watch everyone dig in!