Roast beetroot, lentil & goat’s curd salad with walnuts, serves 4
5 raw medium beetroots
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
50g walnut halves
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 x 400g can cooked Puy or beluga lentils (240g drained weight)
1 celery stick, finely sliced on the diagonal, plus a few leaves
a large handful of flat-leaf parsley, tough stems discarded, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
100g goat’s curd, soft goat’s cheese or feta cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the dressing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon raw mild honey
We grow beetroots and love to use them in salad. Their flavor concentrates and sweetens with roasting. By cutting them and partially steaming them in the oven under foil you can reduce the cooking time significantly. We use canned lentils but do cook them from scratch if you prefer. Soft goat’s curd has a delicate flavour. It is wonderful in savoury or sweet dishes, especially when its sour note complements something sweet such as the honey in the dressing.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Peel and cut the beetroots into wedges about 2cm across at their thickest. Toss with 2 tablespoons of oil and seasoning, tip onto an oven tray, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Put the walnuts onto a baking tray and bake until lightly roasted and browned (6 minutes). Remove and let cool. Put the onion in the bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil to coat. Set aside.
After 30 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and add the onions to the beets. Return to the oven, uncovered, for 20–30 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool.
Put the lentils into a bowl, add the dressing ingredients and seasoning and toss through. When the beetroots and onions are done, add these and any cooking juices to the lentils and toss together, leave to cool to room temperature.
Stir in the celery and parsley, spoon over the curd or crumble the cheese on top and serve with a little extra parsley, olive oil and fresh black pepper.
From Around the World in Salads by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Helen Cathcart.
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