I’ve come a long way vegetable wise since my university days of eating only broccoli and raw carrots. Now there is nothing wrong with raw carrot dipped in a bit of ketchup every now and again but let’s face it, a girl can’t live off that for the rest of her life. I now love veggie laden dishes and pack as many into every dinner that I can. There are however some veg I just can’t handle. Those that have come to be affectionately named as death food because they are just sooo earthy. Spinach – death food. Beets – death food. Mushrooms – death food and just plain wrong. Do you guys have anything similar? That’s not to say I don’t love these vegetables in their own way if they’re cooked right. Creamed spinach is to die for. And roasted beets when pared with something sharp and sweet are a delight.
Which is why today I bring you a roast beet salad that is all that. Sweet from the poached pears, tangy from the vinegar and goats cheese, and deep and earthy from roasted beets. Not to mention it looks an absolute stunner when plated up.
This salad takes a bit of time with the roasting and the poaching but broken down it’s super simple.
It’s hard not to become a beets convert when you nestle them in some tinfoil, freshly washed and all scrubbed up.
Pears always remind me of my dad. It’s funny how a memory like that can make you instantly fonder of a fruit. Or maybe that one is just me.
Once our poaching, roasting and slicing is done it’s just a matter of whizzing together our dressing and then placing it all on a plate and digging in.
Ingredients – serves 4
3 large pears, halved, cored and peeled
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
500 ml (2 cups) apple juice
4 long strips of lemon peel
Chicory and roast beets Salad
2 red or white chicory, leaves separated
3 beetroot, scrubbed
90 grams (roughly 1/2 cup) soft crumbly goats cheese
Handful of pumpkin seeds
Roast beet dressing
1 beetroot, scrubbed
4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1. Roast beets – Pre-heat the oven to 200 C (390F). Place the scrubbed beetroots onto a sheet of tinfoil and then fold over the tinfoil to seal in the beetroot. Place on a tray and roast for 50 minutes until a knife goes through the beetroots easily. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool.
2. Poached pears – Place the cored, halved and peeled pears in a pan big enough to fit them in. Pour in the apple juice, sugar and enough water to just cover the pears. Throw in the lemon peel and simmer for 10 minutes till soft. This will vary depending on how ripe your pears are so just gently stab them with a knife every now and again until cooked through. Remove from the liquor and put to one side.
3. Roast beets dressing – To make the dressing take one of your roasted beetroots and slice into wedges. Place into a food processor along with the vinegar, oil and mustard, and also a pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz till fine and taste for seasoning. This dressing will be more on the acidic side to cut through the beetroots flavour but adjust for however you prefer your dressings.
4. Assembling the salad – Place the chicory leaves across the serving dish. Slice the pear halves into thirds and scatter on top of the chicory. Crumble over the goats cheese. Slice the beetroot into this moon shaped slivers and place around the pears and chicory. Spoon the dressing on top, sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds and dig in.