Roasted beetroot salad, with goats cheese and walnuts, is the perfect side dish for a BBQ. Simple to make, it transports well for a meal with friends. It can also be served with loads of crusty bread as a hearty vegetarian main.
When I was a child beetroot came in tins. Perfect circles, soaked in sweet vinegar that masked the true earthiness of the vegetable. Every steak sandwich or burger came with a slice of beetroot, tucked between the salad and the meat, that had to be extricated before the meal could start. If you were really unlucky, the beetroot juices had seeped into the bread, turning it blood red and soggy.
I avoided beetroot for a long time, the childhood memories firmly at the forefront of my mind. A few years ago, however, I was offered roasted beetroot and found myself in a position in which it would have been impolite to refuse. So I ate it. What a revelation. Freshly cooked beetroot bears no resemblance at all to the pickled slices I remembered of old.
Beetroot has become so well loved in our house that we now even grow our own. I love the deep concentration of flavour that is derived from roasting the roots whole. Roasted beetroot lends itself wonderfully to salads as it does not break apart readily and tastes as good cold as it does hot. The only thing to be wary of is that it will turn all your other ingredients deep red, which is fine if that is the look you’re going for. Just consider this small factor when adding beetroot to a dish.
This salad is a perfect accompaniment to an Australia Day BBQ. It pairs well with red meat and I have successfully transported it, without it spilling all over the inside of the car, on more than one occasion. If the fast food ads for burger chains are to be believed, beetroot is quintessentially Australian. Stick a slice of pickled beetroot in a burger and suddenly it becomes an “Aussie Burger”. So a whole salad of the humble vegetable should make you a very patriotic Australian indeed.
P.S. Love Roasted Beetroot? Check out my Beetroot and Feta Tarte Tartin.