This simple-looking beetroot and goats cheese salad is sweet and salty, sharp and hot all at the same time. It may not look like the best salad you're going to eat this month but I promise it'll surprise you. You'll be making it again before you know it!
You can prepare most of this salad in a matter of minutes, chop some lettuce, dice some cooked beetroot, crumble some goats cheese on top and whisk up the dressing. The only thing you need to take care with is the hot candied pecans as they can easily burn.
I've used candied pecans before in a salad and I really cannot say how addictive they are. Normally I am a fan of making more than you need and saving some for another day. However, with these nuts, that's a dangerous strategy, requiring more resistance than I have at my disposal!
A great combination of flavours!
What I really love about this goats cheese and beetroot salad is the strong flavours! The earthy beetroot with the salty tangy goats cheese and then the mustard dressing on top of that! If you love strong flavours then this is a salad you'll find hard to stop eating.
Can you prepare this salad in advance?
If you want you can prepare the different elements of the salad in advance and then just put them together when you're ready to eat it. The only thing that takes any effort aside from chopping though is making the candied pecans. And even those are easy to make!
You can also prepare the mustard dressing in advance. The easiest way to prepare it is to put everything into a small jar and shake it vigorously to combine the mustard with the vinegar and olive oil. You can then just keep the dressing in the jar. If it needs mixing again when you are ready to serve it's easy to give it a quick shake.
If you're tempted to put the dressing on the salad in advance then don't, it'll make the lettuce soggy! It really is best to put the dressing on the salad when you're serving it and not before!
What to serve with this beetroot and goats cheese salad?
I think this salad is brilliant by itself as a light meal. It's the kind of salad I love making for myself for an easy quick lunch at home.
It also makes a great side dish to serve with a baked potato.
Adaptations and substitutions for this salad
There are loads of ways you could adapt this salad. The one thing I wouldn't change would be the beetroot.
However, there are loads of ways of switching up the other ingredients. Take the goats cheese. I used a crumbly goats cheese but you could use blue cheese or feta instead.
You can vary the kind of mustard you use too. I used English mustard as that's the one we have at home and it is quite strong. You could use French mustard but add a bit more. Basically, taste it and adapt it to suit your tastes. You can easily add more if it's not strong enough for you.
As you can see I used iceberg lettuce as I like the crunch of the chunkier bits but you could use any salad leaves.
Finally, what about the candied pecans?
These are unbelieveably good and I know you'll love them. However, you can use a different nut. Hazelnuts go very well in this particular salad. If you like the idea of the nuts but don't want the extra sweetness that the sugar adds, just toast them. They'll still be delicious.
Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad
- 2 tbsp pecans
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 tbsp Roughly chopped or shredded lettuce
- 1 cooked beetroot diced
- 25 g goats cheese the hard crumbly type
For the Dressing
- ½ tsp mustard
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp Black pepper
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing or put them in a little pot with a lid and shake well.
- Make the candied pecans by roasting them in a dry pan. Keep tossing them so they don't burn. When they are beginning to look toasted, sprinkle on the sugar and cayenne pepper. The sugar will soon form a caramel. Stir the nuts in it and then take them out of the pan to cool.
- Put the lettuce on a plate. Top with the beetroot, goats cheese and pecans. Drizzle the dressing over the top. Serve immediately.