I was never a salad person, until one day I realized that I wasn’t a salad person because I’d never had a really good salad. Years went by and I sat there, munching on iceberg lettuce and dreaming of better days…
Today, I am proud to say that I am a firm believer in and lover of all things salad [insert dietitian joke here].
What makes a salad good you ask? For me, it’s variety – adding new ingredients like avocado, quinoa, goat cheese and chickpeas. You name it, I’ve probably tossed it in a bowl and gobbled it up.
This recipe for Beet & Feta Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds & Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette is one of my all time favourites.
With less than 10 ingredients, this colourful salad is:
Simple to prepare
& Absolutely delicious
I decided to use red beets here, but other varieties work really nicely too! Golden beets are less sweet and have a more mellow and less earthy flavour. Chioggia beets are naturally striped and may be a subtle yellow and orange colour or a brilliant red and cream combination resembling a candy cane – talk about nature’s candy!
Boiling and steaming beets can be a lengthy process, depending on their size. Larger beets may take upwards of an hour to cook completely. So although this recipe is really easy to throw together, it does take a bit of planning in advance.
There’s no need to peel beets before you boil or steam them, save yourself the extra work and the pink fingertips. Once they’re cooked and cooled, the skins and stems should slide off easily.
Although it’s not necessary, I’d highly recommend toasting your sunflower seeds as it really helps to bring out their nutty flavour. I’ve also had this salad topped with candied walnuts and pecans (because everything tastes better when it’s coated in maple syrup, eh?)
You can use just about any green as the base for this salad. A few of my favourites include pea shoots (as pictured) or sprouted greens, arugula and spinach.
Add the beets, top with feta and sunflower seeds and drizzle with a simple maple balsamic vinaigrette. Your dinner guests will be so impressed with just how beautiful this salad looks and how amazing it tastes, they may start calling you Gordon Ramsay (which I’m sure you won’t mind).
If you try this recipe at home, let us know! Post a photo on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and #uprootedblog.
- 3 large beetroots (Centreville, NS)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 2 c. pea shoots (or other greens) (Clam Harbour, NS)
- ¼ c. Ran-Cher Acres feta cheese (Aylesford, NS)
- 2 Tbsp. hulled sunflower seeds (Speerville, NB)
- ⅓ c. extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup (Westchester, NS)
- Wash beets to remove excess dirt. If using whole beets, remove the greens leaving ~1" of stem to prevent leaching.
- Add beets to a medium saucepan and cover with at least 2" of cold water. Add salt and vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until tender [note: boiling can take up to 1 hour depending on the size of the beet - be sure to check smaller beets first to prevent over boiling].
- While the beets are cooking, in a separate medium saucepan, toast the sunflower seeds. Set aside to cool.
- To make the vinaigrette: add the oil, vinegar and maple syrup to a small bowl and whisk until combined.
- Once they are easily pierced with a fork, drain and rinse the beets with cold water. The skins and stems should slip off easily. Cut into small pieces and set aside until completely cooled.
- To assemble: distribute the greens evenly on four plates, add the beets, crumbled feta cheese and toasted sunflower seeds. Drizzle with the maple balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy!