This salad is such a fantastic combination of beetroot and pear which are in season right now. A website I use to check the seasonality of food, and one that is fantastically thorough is called Eat The Season. Knowing when something is in season means you’re getting it at its’ best, its’ freshest and with the maximum flavour!
If you saw my blog Top Tips For Grilling Vegetables you’ll have read that beetroots are wonderful roasted in their skins with a little bit of oil and seasoning. To check they’re done just take a small paring knife and when the flesh is soft enough to pierce the tip of the knife through the very centre take them off the heat and allow to cool enough so you can handle them. The onions in this winter salad are prepared and cooked in a similar way and the pear slices are cut chunkier to help them maintain their shape. Feel free to play around with how you slice your pears as you can get different effects by slicing length-ways and width-ways, etc. With a simple balsamic dressing and some crushed walnuts this salad will be a sure fire crowd pleaser!
- 750g assorted beetroots (I have used candy, golden and classic ruby for this recipe)
- 2 large red onions, cut into 1/8’s
- 3 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 firm pears, cut into 1cm slices
- 30g chopped walnuts
- 3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
- 50g soft blue cheese, in pieces (optional)
- Preheat the BBQ for 180-200c / 350-375f roasting /indirect heat with the lid down and vents open as applicable.
- Wash the beetroot to remove any excess soil. Dry and tumble on a large bowl with the onion wedges, the cold-pressed rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the beetroots on the grate over the area of roasting / indirect heat and close the lid. I cooked these beetroots on my Traeger Pro22 with apple wood pellets. If you are cooking on gas or charcoal simply soak apple wood chips and add them to your grill and reference my Beginners Guide to Smoking on your BBQ if you haven’t done this before.
- Roast the pear slices and flip over after 7-8 minutes to get a bit of colour on both sides before removing. Hold to one side. The onions will roast in about 30 minutes depending on their size, but when they have softened and got a nice bit of colour on the edges remove and hold with the pear slices.
- The beetroots will take about 40-50 minutes roast for or until they feel soft when tested with the tip of a small paring knife. Remove to a tray and allow to cool. When the beetroots have cooled enough to handle take the small paring knife and cut off the tops before peeling the wrinkled outer skin to reveal the glistening flesh underneath. Cut into quarters or sixths depending on the size of the beetroots and place in a large bowl with the pear and onion pieces.
- Drizzle over 2 tbsp of the balsamic vinegar and scatter in the nuts and cheese if adding. Lightly tumble to coat all of the pieces and using your hands to pick up most of the salad, transfer to a serving plate before drizzling over the remaining balsamic.