Beetroot has been in season here since May. It’s one of those vegetables that is best kept simple and left to speak for itself! Many of the Greek tavernas serve it as a side dish, roasted or boiled and marinated in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic. The balsamic really draws out the flavours and sweetness of the beetroot, and in my recipe the roasted onions and walnuts make this a substantial and delicious salad which can be served as a starter or part of a mezze of salads. If serving as a starter I would recommend adding a roasted red pepper to make it look a bit fancier.
Roasted beetroot, red onion and walnut salad recipe (serves 4 to 6)
1 kg beetroot (preferably small beetroot if available)
4 small/medium red onions
60g of walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
4 red peppers (optional)
3 tbsp of good quality balsamic vinegar
olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
Using a high grill roast the red peppers for approximately 20 minutes until skins are soft and charged, making them easy to peel. Remove from oven and place in a bowl and cover with cling film. Once cooled remove the skins from the peppers and cut in half.
Wash the beetroot and trim off any leaves. Pierce each beetroot using a knife and wrap each individually in tin foil. Place in 200c oven for approximately 70 minutes until soft inside (you may need longer if using larger beetroot). In the meantime peel the onions and cut into 1 inch size pieces. Place on a roasted tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven alongside the beetroot for approximately 20 minutes, until soft and turning golden (but not crisp) at the edges. Remove beetroot and red onions from the oven and leave to cool.
Once cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the beetroot (you may wish to wear disposable gloves for this unless you want to raise suspicion!). Cut the beetroot into roughly 1 inch sized chunks. In a large bowl mix the beetroot with the red onions. Mix together approxiamtely 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar with 3 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Pour over the beetroot and onion mix so that they are evenly coated. It is preferable to allow this to marinate for at least one hour before serving. Just before serving stir in the chopped walnuts. If serving as a starter place the roasted red pepper halves on small plates and top with the beetroot salad. You can also leave the red pepper out.