Tuesday 9 July 2013

Beetroot Salad with Rocket and Walnut Pesto

I've renamed my evening meal Salad Club, Experimental Salad Club on some nights, like tonight... It's totally normal to brand your meals surely...? Chicory, celery, cambozola and honey, I think it worked? Pea, broad bean, pesto, goats cheese, bacon and croutons, bit odd? For my birthday last week we ate a whole pig, a lovely friend gave me some fois gras, there was a venison pie, then the Ouseburn Festival Feast kindly provided me with black pudding rolls, scotch pies, chicken liver parfait and other meaty delights. I desperately need a bit of salad time and this beautiful sunshine makes it even more apt... Salad and sunshine are great friends.

I've been delving into my Ottolenghi Jerusalem book and the Polpo book, a recent favourite, and finding all kinds of delicious salady type treats. I served up two of them at my latest Supperclub on Saturday, a Radish, Fennel, Mint and Ricotta Salad, but I thought you might be a bit sick of radishes so I thought I'd tell you about the Beetroot Salad with Rocket and Walnut Pesto. I'm growing my own beetroot at the moment but it has got a little way to go before it is ready yet. I'm quite proud of it already, I always feel pretty proud of a root vegetable, it amazes me every time I pull one up, that I, me, actually grew it?

This is quite simple, once you know how long a beetroot takes to cook (I didn't, we ate at 10pm). Simply bring your beetroots to the boil in plenty of water with a big splash of red wine vinegar. This will serve 4 to 6 depending on hunger levels. I used 550g of beetroot, big tough as old boots ones and they took about an hour to cook. They need to be tender and the skins coming away easily. I hope my little fells in the allotment will be a bit more tender and speedy to cook. When they are done leave them to cool and then peel and cut into small chunks.

To make the pesto, wizz up a bag of rocket, about 70g, 60g of walnuts, 35g of parmesan, 2 cloves of garlic, ¼ teaspoon of salt, black pepper and a big glug of olive oil, using a food processor. I have also tried it with a mix of almonds and pecans which was very good too. There you have your rocket pesto, this is a world away from pesto you get in a jar at the supermarket, so tasty and well worth the effort. It's pretty easy and can be used for loads of other things.

Then simply mix the beetroot pieces with the pesto, you might not need it all, and add a handful of rocket and some toasted walnut pieces. The beetroot is soft and sweet and tangy, delicious with the fresh creamy pesto. A delicious new way to eat beetroot for me and a regular new addition on the Salad Club line up...


  1. Looks great; something amazing happens when you put beetroot with walnuts (and goats cheese), mor than the sum of their parts.

    Your beetroot look nice and healthy; we pulled the first one from the allotment yesterday, about golf-ball sized. I've got good news for you: it was fork tender in 10 minutes of boiling!

    1. Thanks, mine are still the size of a pea, but hopefully with this lovely weather should be ready soon!

      Anna x


Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x