Spicy Beetroot, Leek and Walnut Salad
This gutsy salad is inspired by Georgian cuisine. The beetroot and leeks can be cooked well ahead of time, even a day in advance. We keep the two elements of the salad separate until serving, so the beetroot doesn’t colour the leek red. This is not necessary if such an aesthetic consideration is not top of your priority list. Other colours of beetroot - golden, white or striped - are also good.
- 4 medium beetroots (600g in total after cooking and peeling)
- 4 medium leeks, cut into 10cm segments (360g in total)
- 15g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 25g rocket
- 50g pomegranate seeds (optional)
- For the dressing:
- 100g walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 60ml cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp tamarind water
- `1 tsp walnut oil
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC Fan/Gas Mark 7.
Wrap the beetroots individually in tin foil and roast them in the oven for 60–90 minutes, depending on their size. Once cooked, you should be able to stick a small knife through to the centre easily. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets, halve them and cut each half into wedges, 1cm thick at the base. Put in a medium bowl and set aside.
Place the leeks in a medium pan with salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until just cooked; it’s important to simmer them gently and not to overcook them so they don’t fall apart. Drain and refresh under cold water, then use a very sharp serrated knife to cut each segment into 3 smaller pieces and pat dry. Transfer to a bowl, separate from the beets, and set aside.
While the vegetables are cooking, mix all the dressing ingredients and leave to one side for at least 10 minutes for all the flavours to come together.
Divide the walnut dressing and the fresh coriander equally between the beets and the leeks and toss gently. Taste both and add more salt if needed.
To put the salad together, spread most of the beetroot on a serving platter, top with some rocket, then most of the leeks, then the remaining beetroot and finish with more leek and rocket. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, if using, and serve.