I have a few recipes for beetroot salads – and they all begin with roasting the beetroot. I take the simple way out with this – slice off the top and bottom of each beetroot wrap the lot in foil and roast in a moderate oven (180C) or camp oven for about an hour. You should be able to get a knife easily through the largest beetroot. If you want to get fancy, you can pop some unpeeled garlic cloves and some thyme or rosemary springs into the foil parcels before roasting.
Leave them wrapped in their little parcels until they are cool enough to handle – the skins will pretty much slide off – before cutting them into rounds.
Slice a Spanish or red onion into little half moons, placing them in a shallow dish, and drizzle over a few teaspoons of red wine vinegar. Not only does this bring out the pink, but it also makes the onions easier on the tummy – if you’re the type who has problems digesting onions. Leave them for at least 15 minutes.
Arrange the beetroot on a serving plate, top with the onions, a little of the vinegar and a good slug of decent olive oil.
Some chopped herbs – mint, basil or thyme – will complete your salad. I used Greek Basil to top mine – mainly because the leaves are tiny, the stalks soft, and the flavour a tad more intense than regular basil…and because I planted some and hadn’t yet had the opportunity to use it.
Cube your beetroot and serve with cubes of feta and some spinach, rocket or baby beet leaves. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle some almonds over the top.
If you’re after a traybake beetroot salad, try this one. Peel the beetroot before cooking and cut into wedges. Pop into an oven tray with a few cloves of (peeled) garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar – naturally, mix the oil, sugar and vinegar together first. Cook in a moderate oven (or camp oven) for 40-45 mins – or until soft and a little shrivelled. Discard the garlic – it was there to flavour the oil – and toss it all together with some rocket, feta and almonds or walnuts.