A few weeks ago, J and I were sitting in Nordstrom’s marketplace café having a nice cup of afternoon tea. A couple near us were eating a salad. I couldn’t particularly see what the salad was, all that I could see was that it had chunks of beetroot (beets) in it, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the wonderful combination of beetroot (beets) with rocket (arugula), goat cheese and toasted walnuts.
This thought itself is incredibly wrong. To me, beetroot (beets) make me want to hurl. My first encounters of beetroot (beets) were at school lunches (or dinners for commoners like myself). Although I never tried them, the smell and sight of crunchy, bright red cubes of pickled beetroots (beets) still makes me want to vomit. It was always the item that I left on my plate.
It was only a few years ago, that J and I were holidaying (vacationing) somewhere, when a small plate of roasted beetroot (beets) was placed on our table. I asked him what it was like, he replied “just like beetroot… sweet and incredibly earthy”. I tried a piece, and indeed it was like eating a piece of solid soil (earth/dirt). Sweet as it is, it’s just not our cuppa tea. The only way I really enjoy beetroot (beets) is in savory snacks, like crisps (chips).
This is exactly why it surprised me so much when I was salivating at the salad in Nordstrom’s marketplace café! I’ve been thinking about this creation even since. I even told J that I may be making it for dinner one evening… he was NOT too enthused about that, and I said that I’ll make sure there is a stand-by. I finally got my ass around to buying some beetroot (beets) this week. I didn’t opt for the traditional red ones, as they (I’ve read) are earthier than the golden ones. Plus, I hate the staining mess that the red ones can create.
Golden beetroot (beets) are orange in color, sweeter and subtler in earthiness. The salad was delicious. It was sweet from the roasted beetroot (beets) and baby plum (grape) tomatoes, peppery and lightly bitter from the rocket (arugula), crunchy from the roasted walnuts, creamy from the goat cheese and lightly tangy from the lemon-olive oil dressing.
GOLDEN BEETROOT (BEETS), ROCKET (ARUGULA), GOAT CHEESE & WALNUT SALAD
Makes 4-6 servings
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch dried garlic flakes
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad
- 200 g (7 oz) rocket (arugula)
- 600 g (21 oz) roasted beetroot*, skinned and chopped into 1.25 cm (½ inch) chunks
- 200 g (7 oz) baby plum (grape) tomatoes
- 140 g (5 oz) goat cheese
- 60 g (½ c) lightly roasted walnuts, roughly chopped
* To roast beetroot (beets), chop off any leaves/tops, scrub clean, place onto a large piece of kitchen foil. Drizzle with olive oil, if desired. Place another large piece of foil on top and crimp the edges together to create a sealed package. Roast in oven at 190°C (375°F) for about 60 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a knife. Allow to cool, then gently push on the skin to remove it.
1. Make the dressing by whisking together the oil, lemon juice, garlic flakes and season to taste. Set aside.
2. Divide rocket (arugula) onto 4-6 serving plates.
3. Scatter beetroot (beets), tomatoes and goat cheese evenly onto each plate.
4. Drizzle a little dressing over each salad, then garnish with walnuts. Enjoy!