Beetroot, Goat Cheese and Orange Salad + Candied Walnuts

Everyone knows goat cheese and beetroot go perfectly together. In London, I have tried at least a dozen versions of the famous goat cheese and beetroot salad and loved all of them.

One day I just thought, why not give a Moroccan twist to this great combination of ingredients? 

To be honest it wasn't too difficult to ‘Moroccanize’ the beetroot and goat cheese salad and the result is awesome!

I added candied walnuts and orange segments to the salad and used orange juice and orange blossom water for dressing.

The salad is sweet and savoury, fragrant and tangy. It’s perfect for spring and summer time, quick to prepare and can be enjoyed as a starter or a main with a side of quinoa.

I love this recipe because it gives me a good reason to segment oranges. Yes, for some reason I find it very amusing. Weird? 

Beetroot, goat cheese and orange salad 13.jpg

 

 Beetroot, goat cheese and orange salad

 

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large oranges
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 120 gr soft goat cheese
  • 100 gr baby leaf lettuce (or any type of lettuce)
  • 1 uncooked medium sized beetroot (or 2 small beetroots)

For the candied walnuts

  • 100 gr walnut halves (or walnut pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil, to drizzle

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (reserved when segmenting the oranges, more info in the notes section)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon orange blossom water
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground black pepper

METHOD

• Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).

• Segment the oranges, retaining any juice that is released. Segmenting oranges is a lot of fun, take a look here. Gently place the orange segments in a plate, sprinkle with cinnamon and leave in the fridge. Keep the juice you retained from the oranges, you will need it for the dressing.

• Place the walnuts into a bowl, pour boiling water over them, leave for a minute and drain them. Directly place the walnuts in a plastic container and sift the icing sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper over them. The icing sugar will start melting because the walnuts are warm. Close the container and shake it to coat all the walnuts with the icing sugar and spices mixture. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the walnuts on the paper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown (medium shelf).

•  Peel the beetroot and slice it as thin as possible. Use a mandolin if you have one. Cut the beetroot slices in 1 inch (2,5cm) length pieces.

•  In a small bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients together until smooth.

• Cut the goat cheese into small cubes (0.5 inch – 1,5 cm large) and place in the fridge.

• When ready to serve, toss the lettuce in the dressing and pile onto each plate. On each plate, arrange the beetroot, orange segments, goat cheese cubes and walnuts.

•  Serve as a starter or a main with a side of quinoa.

Notes

•  Tip to retain the juice of the oranges: segment the oranges over a bowl and also squeeze the remaining core over the same bowl to extract all the juice. 

•  To prepare the candied walnuts, you can also place them in a bowl instead of a container and toss until the walnuts are coated but you will get a better result using a container. Using a container allows the walnuts to be evenly coated with the icing sugar and spices mixture. 

• Use pecans if you don't like walnuts. Follow the same method to make candied pecans.