Roasted beetroot & chickpea salad with honeyed thyme walnuts, feta & parsley

Making salads to take for lunch at work is one of my favourite kitchen activities. Seasonal vegetables are always the starting point, to which I add beans or legumes, toasted nuts and seeds, feta, and lots of fresh herbs. Sometimes the result is what my sister calls ‘goat food’ i.e. lots of greenery, plenty of chewing. This roasted beetroot salad is one of my more popular recent inventions and far too good for the goats.

Roasted beetroot & chickpea salad with honeyed thyme walnuts, feta & parsley

For the salad:

walnut halves 1/2 cup

fresh thyme a couple of sprigs

honey 1 tablespoon

beetroot 3 large, peeled and cut into 2-3cm pieces

red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon

oil enough to coat beetroot

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

flat leaf parsley a large bunch

chickpeas 1 can, drained

feta 100g

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place walnuts into a small ovenproof dish and place into oven to toast. Keep a close eye on them and give them a stir to ensure they toast evenly. Once they are starting to look just about done, remove from the oven and add the honey to the tray; as the heat of the tray melts the honey, stir the walnuts so that they get covered. Run your fingers down the thyme sprigs to remove the leaves and sprinkle these over the walnuts. Place back into the oven for another 2-3 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool.

Place the chopped up beetroot onto a large baking tray, drizzle with oil and red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Place into oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes until the beetroot is tender. Add the drained chickpeas to the tray and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Pick the parsley leaves from the thick woody stems (the softer stems at the ends are fine to eat). Place the leaves into a salad spinner and shake off the excess water.

For the dressing:

fennel seeds 1 heaped teaspoon

extra virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons

red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon

lemon juice 1 tablespoon

honey 1/2 teaspoon

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat; shake the pan regularly to ensure they don’t turn. Once toasted, grind up in a mortar and pestle. Put the ground seeds and remaining dressing ingredients into a small jar with a lid and shake to combine.

Putting it together:

Place the beetroot and chickpeas into a large serving bowl and add the parsley leaves. Pour over the dressing and gently toss to combine. Crumble over the feta and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts, breaking up the walnuts into smaller pieces with your hands.

 

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