Texture and colour variations and a mix of warm and cold ingredients make for a tasty, interesting salad.
We love beetroot in our household and we are also addicted to nuts of all description. Add grilled onion and celery and the combination is about as perfect as it can get for us – and for many of our friends who have shared this treat with us.
This salad in its basic form is also perfect for experimenting with by leaving out some of the ingredients and replacing them with you own or just simply adding some of your favourites to it. I did this recently when I had a few small, fresh button mushrooms left over from a dish I had made the previous day, so in they went. Over the festive season we had a few slices of ham left over after Christmas so they were chopped up and into the salad they went.
To serve four portions of this salad you need:
2 cups fresh mint
½ cup pecan nuts
½ cup walnuts
4 beetroots, boiled gently until just done but still firm, peeled and quartered
4 celery sticks, rinsed, halved lengthwise and sliced into 4cm sticks
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1/3 cup cooking oil
2 ripe but firm apples, cored and diced
For the dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
Salt and coarse black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed and finely chopped
2 teaspoons hot English or Dijon mustard
Heat the oven grill, baste the celery and onion lightly with the cooking oil and place in a roasting tin.
Grill until just soft and the onion starts to brown then remove from oven and set aside.
Combine all the dressing ingredients, mix well and set aside.
Mix together all the ingredients except for the beetroot, onion and nuts.
Scoop the mixed ingredients on to a large oval salad platter.
Arrange the beetroot chunks around the mixed salad and sprinkle the nuts over the salad.
If you can access fresh watercress, sprinkle a handful over the salad just before serving.