4 medium beetroot, leaves cut off
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed (crushed)
sea salt and cracked pepper
1 big bunch watercress
1 cup walnuts
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup marinated feta
handful basil leaves
1 Wash the beetroot and put into a deep saucepan covered with water. Simmer for 30 minutes or until tender when poked with a skewer or small knife. Let them cool, then put them under running cold water—the skin will come away easily, as will the furry bits. You will be left with lovely, plump, smooth-looking vegetables. Cut them into quarters and set aside while you prepare the salad.
2 Combine the oil, vinegar, garlic (if using) and seasoning in a bottle or jar and shake well. Wash the watercress well and dry. If the watercress has lots of woody stems these will need to be removed—you may lose quite a bit of a seemingly big bunch after doing this.
3 Place the nuts and seeds in a pan (a heavy-based cast iron skillet will serve you well, but is not essential) and dry fry the seeds over a medium heat until they start to go a lovely golden colour. Remove from the pan and let them cool slightly on a plate.
4 On a gorgeous big platter lay down half the watercress. Lightly dress with the oil mix and season to taste. Then top with roughly half the beetroot, walnut and seed mix, feta and basil. Finish with another layer of the watercress and other ingredients, then dress and season again.
-Watercress is a wonderful herb. It aids weight loss, is high in calcium and folate, and will help clean out your liver. The roasted sunflower seeds and walnuts give texture and crunch and provide good oils in your diet. And the natural sweetness of the beetroot contrasts beautifully with the saltiness of the feta. This well-balanced salad will give you a really satisfying lunch or light dinner.
-Use baby spinach, rocket, mixed leaves or radicchio instead of watercress.
-Feta in brine will also work well—it just won’t be as creamy, which is actually better in summer, and it has less fat.
-Try raspberry, white balsamic or white wine vinegar.