Beetroot Salad with Green Beans and Pine Nuts

Fresh beetroot should carry a warning: Don't wear white clothes while cooking. And all recipes using beetroots should list rubber gloves as one of the "ingredients".
I was wearing a white T-shirt (although it was an old one) which had lovely pink dots all over afterwards, and my hands were dark red until I soaked them in long bath later at night. Now look at this salad and I say: it was all worth it.
 For quite some time, I have been looking to use some winter root vegetables in my dishes. We had turnip casseroles and potato bakes, but secretly I always wanted to cook with beetroot. Fresh ones are so much better than pickled ones drowned in vinegar. The flavor is sweet and earthy, the texture smooth and silky and the dark red color just beats everything.

We had this salad cold as side dish to filet steaks and I will definitely do a beetroot salad again. It is so full of flavor, not to speak of the goodness they carry. They are full of vitamin C, potassium, manganese and folic acid. 

300g fresh beetroot bulbs
150g green beans
150g spinach leaves (or beetroot leaves)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper

2-3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Serves 3-4
Remove the leaves from the beetroot and scrub the bulbs. Place in a pot of boiling water. Cook covered until tender, about 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the roots. If you can pierce with a knife through to the middle of the root, they will be done.
Drain the beetroot and let cool enough to handle them. Peel them and cut into wedges. It is wise not to wear anything white while you are doing this. It might even be a good idea to wear rubber gloves if you don't want to have beetroot colored hands for the rest of the day. Set aside.
Cook or steam the beans for about 4 minutes. They should keep a little crispiness to the bite. Drain the beans and put them into ice cold water. The cooking process is stopped by this and the beans keep the vibrant green color.
Steam the spinach leaves until just wilted. Set aside.
Toast the pine nuts in a skillet on medium heat for a few minutes. 
Prepare the dressing by combining olive oil, vinegar, capers, garlic clove, salt and pepper.
On a serving dish, put a layer of spinach at the bottom. Arrange the beetroot wedges on top. Surround them with the green beans. Sprinkle pine nuts and feta cheese over the salad. Drizzle over the salad dressing.
The salad can be eaten warm or cold. If you decide to serve it later, keep the feta cheese separate until serving, as the beetroot will color it red.

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