Admittedly, I am not exactly a salad specialist. And I am probably the farthest thing from a vegetarian that you can find. But, as is the custom in my wife's family, I was asked to bring a salad to last year's Christmas Day - and that meant the search was on for something unique and tasty that fits our Christmas-in-summer climate.
Almost a year ago, through a recommendation by Pepe Saya, we popped over to Kitchen by Mike for lunch and tried a few different dishes that they had. The focus that day was mussels but we were intrigued by their roast chicken with harissa and the variety of salads on offer. A few days before Christmas we popped by and had an amazing lunch - we both had the chicken but I had their beetroot salad. And was intrigued.
I believe that Mike actually might cover this salad in his book but I decided to wing it on my own - part of my stop-following-recipes-to-the-letter resolution. I think it turned out pretty good and I found a nifty little secret with the beetroot that allowed me to put this together in under five minutes of effort, flat.
This should serve about 8 people. You'll need:
- 1 packet packed baby beetroot (the secret weapon)
- 500g can chickpeas
- 200g creamy Feta cheese (probably Danish)
- 1 bag spinach leaves
- 1/2 red onion
- red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1tbsp dijon mustard
Now here's the lowdown on the beetroot. Usually, you would roast the beetroots, remove the skins, cool, and then slice. This could take close to an hour and is error prone and messy. Enter the pre-prepared baby beetroot packets cropping up all over Australia. For $3 you can avoid all the whole roasting debacle and you'll end up with pretty much the same result. Nice!
First, macerate the red onion by cutting it in half and then slicing, and covering with red wine vinegar in a cup. Let it stand for 30 minutes. Remove the beetroots from the packet and cut each beetroot into eight pieces. Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly.
Combine the balsamic, olive oil, and mustard with a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk or shake to combine. Set aside.
Add the spinach to a large salad bowl and then pour in the chickpeas. Remove the onion from the vinegar and scatter over the salad. Crumble and sprinkle the feta on top and then add the beetroot pieces. Cover generously with the dressing and mix. Voila! An amazing summer salad. And I bet you won't miss roasting those beetroots...