Beetroot is quite spectacular. It has the most gorgeous, intense colour and it’s super versatile. I love to bake it in the oven with rosemary, thyme and chilli, but it’s also wonderful when it’s raw. Eating your 5 a day, indulging on two wonderful fruit treats, and eating three servings of vegetables might seem like a daunting task, but incorporating a great salad that can be used as a lunch by itself, or as a side dish for dinner makes the whole thing a bit easier. I’m not a huge fan of the traditional salad that you find at every buffet, filled with tomatoes, cucumber and iceberg salad and I have worked really hard to change my perception of what a real salad is, coming to the conclusion that eating that kind of salad (that mostly consists of water anyway) doesn’t have to be anywhere near my diet.
I like intense flavours, different kinds of textures and finding new ways to use ingredients I love. I therefore want to share this ridiculously easy recipe with you, to present a way of using three of the season’s glorious red ingredients: Beetroot, cranberries and pomegranate.
To make a big lunch salad for one you’ll need
One large (or two medium sized) beetroot
A tiny handful of cranberries
A slightly bigger handful of pomegranate seeds
A tablespoon poppy seeds
A little fresh lime juice
Lots of freshly ground pepper
A little bit of thyme
Peel, rinse and thinly slice your beetroot (if you have a food processor or mandolin slicer, you can finish the whole thing in a single minute), wash and cut the cranberries in half and prepare your pomegranate. I know the pomegranate seems like a lot of work for a salad, but I promise you it will be worth it. Seriously. The sweetness of the pomegranate seeds is absolutely crucial to get the right balance in the dish, and it’s filled with stuff that is good for you so you basically have no excuse to be lazy. Combine the three ingredients in a bowl, and there, you have your salad base.
I’m all about toppings when it comes to soups and salads; it’s where you can really play up the different flavours. Hazelnuts accompany the earthy beetroot flavour perfectly and along with the thyme you get a really wonderful combination. Rinse a little portion of thyme and leave it to dry. Put the hazelnuts in a dry pan, and toast them on medium heat until your kitchen is filled with the most wonderful hazelnut smell. Cut them in half and sprinkle them over the salad base along with the poppy seeds. Squeeze a little lime juice (or a lot, I would go for a lot), plenty of freshly ground pepper and a tiny pinch of salt before picking the thyme leaves and decorate your salad.
If you are not eating everything at once, I would recommend keeping the salad base ingredients separate in the fridge and mix them together for each portion you are eating to keep it from getting too wet. I hate that! The beetroot will stay super crisp and nice if you keep it in a bowl of cold water in the fridge. A wonderful addition to this recipe if you are having it for lunch would be a little feta cheese to make it a bit more filling. Easy is key when it comes to eating healthy in a busy life, and this salad takes about 10 minutes to prepare.
Simple, healthy, wonderful!