Steam-roasted beets. Juicy citrus. Fresh colour on a cold winter’s day. Need I say more?
a beetroot & citrus salad
makes 4-6 servings, depending on the size of your servings
This salad is incredibly versatile and I strongly encourage you to make it how you want it, with what you have: serve it hot or cold, with feta or goat’s cheese or not, with pickled onions or shallots or not, with just one kind of beet or a mix of colours, with just one kind of citrus or an assortment of varieties, with mint leaves instead of thyme, with shaved fennel or shaved celery or neither… I told you this salad was versatile. I hope you’ll tweak it to your liking.
• 3 medium-sized beets
• 2 or 3 oranges and/or grapefruit can use 1 blood orange with 1 navel orange, for example
• 1-2 Tbsps red wine vinegar you’ll only need 1 Tbsp if using grapefruit, as it’s quite acidic already
• 1-2 Tbsps honey you’ll only need 1 Tbsp if using just oranges, as they’re quite sweet already
• ¼-½ tsp chili flakes depends on how much you like spicy heat
• fresh thyme leaves
• olive oil extra virgin
• salt preferably flaky for finishing the dish
• black pepper freshly cracked
optional add-ons & substitutions
a small handful of freshly crumbled goat cheese or feta • ½ a fennel bulb or 1 rib of celery, thinly sliced • some cooked whole grains, like emmer or spelt • dark firm lentils, perhaps beluga • a few leaves of dark green lettuce or radicchio • a small handful of sunflower or pumpkin or poppy or caraway or nigella seeds, or maybe walnuts instead • ½ red onion or 1 shallot, thinly sliced and left to pickle 15 or so minutes in red wine vinegar & salt • pomelo instead of grapefruit; tangerines instead of oranges • dill, mint, rosemary or parsley instead of thyme • pomegranate molasses or balsamic reduction instead of honey
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Give the beets a good rinse or a scrub if they need it, then trim off the very top and bottom off each, and cut any larger beets so that all the beet pieces are roughly the same size. Rub each beet with a bit of olive oil and season with some salt. Place in a baking dish along with a small splash of water, cover tightly with foil and steam-roast until tender (you should be able to pierce a knife through without resistance), around 1 hour or so.
2. In the meantime, cut the peel and pith off your chosen citrus (as shown in this cauliflower & citrus salad recipe) and carve out each segment, section by section, into a large bowl. Squeeze the remaining juices out the of leftover membrane into the bowl over the citrus segments. Set aside.
3. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the beets by rubbing them off or with the help of a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets into whatever shape and size you choose. Add to the bowl along with the citrus. Keep warm.
4. Season the warm beets and citrus segments with salt and pepper, plus the red wine vinegar and chili flakes.
5. If serving cold, chill for around 1 hour before plating with a drizzle of olive oil and honey and a sprinkling of thyme leaves — plus more salt, pepper and chili flakes. If serving warm, warm the honey in a small saucepan (along with your chosen herbs, if they are of the sturdy variety like thyme and rosemary) before drizzling over the salad along with extra olive oil and flaky sea salt.
Even better the next day!
You can also watch this dish being made over on my Instagram page.