Here is a beetroot salad with an interesting blend of unexpected flavours – sweet, salty, savoury and sharp. The salty savouriness comes from the creamy blue cheese and then there is extra virgin olive oil. The sweetness and sharpness is from the onions that were pickled in sugar and lemon. Sharp and salty capers and pickled onions provides bites of crunch.

Those who like beetroots would like this salad. Those who do not appreciate the earthy flavour of beetroots would find this salad rather palatable as the other flavours – sweet, salty, sharp – helps tone down the ‘earthiness’ of beetroot. This salad goes best with fresh crusty bread so that you can sponge up all the flavours off your plate.

There is no salad dressing to prepare. Drizzle the plated salad with the sweet pickled juices, extra virgin olive oil and grate a generous amount of lemon zest over the plate. It becomes even simpler to make if you can buy ready cooked beetroots. This is my favourite way to eat beetroot.

Beetroot Salad With 20-minutes Sweet Pickled Onions

Prep: 15 minutes 
Cook: 1 hour (beetroot) unless you buy ready-roasted ones.
Inactive: 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Serves: ~2 – 3
Oven Temperature: 400F (200C)
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? Beetroot can be roasted 3 days ahead. Sweet pickled onions can be made 1 day ahead.

Ingredients

1 medium sized beetroot* or buy ready-roasted
1 teaspoon capers
~ 2 – 3 Tablespoons blue cheese
~1 – 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
~1 Tablespoon lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
~ 1/4 teaspoon salt
~1/4 teaspoon pepper
20-minutes Sweet Pickled Onions**
~1/3 cup thinly sliced purple onions
~2 Tablespoons lemon juice
~2 Tablespoons sugar
~1/2 teaspoon salt
* I have 3 other recipes that use roast beetroot. Scroll down to ‘Tips’ please.
** For 3 more suggestions to use these pickles, please scroll down to ‘Tips’.

Method

Roast beetroot
1. 4 hours before your are ready to serve the salad (or up to 3 days before), heat up the oven to 400F (200C) oven rack adjusted to middle position. Wrap the beetroot in aluminium foil. It should look like a UFO.  Hot air circulates within the package and helps speed up cooking. That is what I am told anyway.

2. Bake 1 hour. Beetroot is cooked when you can easily insert a skewer through it.
3. Using oven gloves (as it will be steaming hot), remove foil and cool slightly.
4. Peel off the skin whilst still warm as it will be easier and slice the beetroot as thinly as you can manage. A mandolin is best. Any straggly bits should be cut into thin batons. No point wasting. It can be used to plug in any holes on your plated salad or I hide them at the bottom of all the other salad ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

’20-minutes Sweet Pickled Onions’
1. Combine all ingredients. Set aside for 20 minutes or up to 1 day ahead refrigerated. The aim is to get the onions sweet and to lose some of its sharpness. So taste the pickling onions and decide if you need to adjust seasonings or pickle them longer. It depends in part on the type of onion and lemon you use.
2. The longer the onions sit in the pickling liquid, the more liquid would be drawn out. Keep that to drizzle over the beetroots. However, remember to adjust seasoning of the pickling liquid to your taste before using on the plated salad.

Assembling the salad
1. The beetroot should be placed to cover the bottom of the serving vessel, keeping most of the beetroot’s surface area exposed as you would have to drizzle the Sweet Pickled Onions (with pickling juice) over the beetroot. (You don’t have to use all of the Sweet Pickled Onions or the pickling juice -use however much to suit your taste). Alternatively, dress the beetroot with the Sweet Pickled Onions separately and then arrange on serving plate. Any excess beetroots (those straggly bits), should be tucked underneath the slices of beetroot.
2. Dot with the blue cheese and capers.
3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to your taste.
4. Grate lemon zest directly over the salad.
5. Serve with crusty bread.

Tips

If you like beetroot, it makes sense to roast more than one beetroot in the oven
I often roast at least 3 individually aluminium foiled wrapped beetroot at a time. This is what I do with them:

(1) Slide them into my Roast Beef Sandwiches (roast the beef myself)

My ideal roast beef tea sandwich. Beefy tasting, tender and moist.

(2) Dairy And Gluten Free Beetroot Soup
If you have a blender, this is about the easiest soup you can make as you literally zap all the ingredients in a blender. I add capers in it for an unexpected tangy zing!

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(3) Purple Salad
This is an interesting salad, visually and taste wise.

Here are 3 other ways to use my ’20-minutes Sweet Pickled Onions’ 

(1)  Mango Salad With Salmon & Scallops Ceviche

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(2)  Try sprinkling the Sweet Pickled Onions over simply fried salt & peppered fish fillets.

It’s very delicious.

(3)  Purple Salad (image above)

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

Figs Topped With Peppered Ricotta served on a bed of mesclun salad drizzled with an easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

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