Beetroot salad with Walnut and Pumpkin seed and whipped feta

This recipe, Beetroot Walnut and Pumpkin seed salad with whipped feta from Jane Lovett, makes the most perfect starter. It is simple to make and is a favourite of my friends i.e. they all asked for the recipe. I have also made it as a light supper and served it with some toasted Pitta bread.

Beetroot Walnut and Pumpkin seed salad with whipped feta - Recipe
Beetroot Walnut and Pumpkin seed salad with whipped feta

Ingredients: serves 6-8

  • 600g raw beetroot (I cheated and used ready-cooked beetroot)
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • 100g walnut pieces roughly chopped, toasted
  • 50g pumpkin seeds toasted
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
  • 200g Feta cheese
  • 100g cream cheese
  • Serving suggestions – rocket leaves; mint, dill, or parsley, leaves chopped

How to prepare:

Preheat the oven to 190℃. Cut any leaves from the beetroot leaving 2.5cm of stalks attached and the root in tact. Wash well, place (unpeeled) onto a large sheet of tin foil. Sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap up loosely, forming a large airy tent. Put onto a baking sheet and cook for 1 hour or until tender. The skins will slip off easily when cooked. |When cool enough to handle slide off the skins, wearing gloves to prevent stained hands.

Process the beetroot into matchsticks using the julienne blade of a food processor, a mandolin, coarse processor grating disc, box grater, or, cut by hand, and put into a large bowl. Alternatively, dice if you prefer.

For the whipped Feta process the Feta and cream cheeses together with 1 tsp olive oil until smooth. Set aside. (Bring back to room temperature if made in advance and refrigerated.)

Reserving a few of each for decoration, add the cumin seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and spring onion. Season well, add a glug of olive oil and gently mix together.

Arrange on a platter or in a pretty, shallow bowl and scatter with the reserved ingredients. Spoon small blobs of whipped Feta over the top, serving the rest separately; alternatively serve it all separately. Swirl with olive oil and scatter with rocket leaves or herbs, if using.

Get-ahead:

Prepare to end of whipping the cheeses up to 3 days in advance. Also the nuts and seeds can be toasted up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container.

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