I tried this gorgeous salad at a recent event I attended at Appetite for Books, a lovely, aptly named cookbook store in Westmount where you can attend either a traditional cooking class or a private dinner for 10, where you watch and learn how your delicious 4 course meal is created. I was lucky enough to be invited to the dinner version. What a pleasure it was to sit and eat and talk about food among ceiling-high shelves of cookbooks! I was in heaven. When this salad was prepared and presented there were loads of oohs and ahhs of course and when we tried it, well, everyone was just floored. In fact, for many, it was the best course of the evening. The vibrant colours – green and bright magenta, the different textures – creamy goat cheese and beet hummus and the slightly chewy, hearty and comforting farro and the flavours – slightly bitter arugula, tangy goat cheese (always a good match), the slight sweetness, garlic and sesame flavours of the beet hummus and the light vinaigrette. The original recipe calls for pomegranate seeds with adds more of all three components; crunch, colour and a sweet tang ( didn’t have any this time but they’re definitely a must-do! )
Thankfully we were all given the recipe and that’s how it found its way here. I hope you enjoy it.
You can make this salad without the delicious, homemade beet hummus but that’s like taking off a tiara, still beautiful but no sparkle. It looks absolutely stunning on a plate with it’s deep magenta colour peeking beneath all the green and beige, transforming it from a regular-looking salad to an enticing, captivating and super healthy dinner course or lunch.
Since I was cooking for two and this makes a generous amount of hummus, I enjoyed the leftovers all week with pita chips, crudités and of course more of this salad!
- 3 medium beets
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of tahini (or to taste)
- Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425.
Wash and wrap each beet in foil, like you would a baked potato. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 60-75 minutes until tender but still firm. (If you stick a skewer in and it comes out easily, they’re done! Allow to cool for 20 mins and remove the foil. Slip off the skin with your hands (your hands will turn pink but its nothing two hand washes won’t remove and wear an apron or you may get beet juice on your clothes). Cut the beets into 1 inch cubes and refrigerate or just make sure they are completely cool.
In a food processor, combine the cooked beets with the garlic, coriander, lemon juice and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine still running, slowly stream in the olive oil until incorporated and smooth. Scrape into a bowl and whisk in the Tahini. Season with salt.
Ah! The ancient Italian grain, Farro, a relative of modern-day wheat. It was a mainstay of the daily diet in ancient Rome. Farro is hearty and chewy, with a rich, nutty flavour. It not only provides numerous health benefits but it adds a wonderful contrasting texture to the greens.
- 1 cup of farro, rinsed under cold water.
- 1 splash of olive oil
- 1 splash Sherry Vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
- a lemon for juicing
- Salt and pepper
- Seeds from 1 Pomegranate (optional)
- 1/4 cup or crumbled goat cheese or your favourite feta.
- pre-washed container of baby arugula salad
Place the farro in a large sauce pan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well.
Chef Jonathan recommended drying out the grains a little by spreading them in a layer on a baking sheet and placing it in the oven at a low temperature to remove excess water. (Don’t over do it though! Check them once and a while 🙂
Dress the faro with a good splash of olive oil, vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Add the arugula and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon and spread a generous amount of beet hummus over the base of the serving plate. With salad tongs, place the salad over the hummus, keeping it centred so that a rim of hummus shows all around. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds (if using) and crumbled cheese on top. Enjoy!!
Health benefits of our star ingredients:
Beets are low in calories, high in vitamin C, B3, B5 and B6, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Just by their colour (betalain pigments) you can tell that they are a nutrition power-house. Betalain pigments help in the creation of red blood cells, are a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and contain detoxifying agents that are richer in beets than other plant foods.
Farro is an unprocessed grain meaning that it has an intact bran and germ, the parts of the grain that provide nutrients, protein and fibre. Therefore, it is a slow burning carb, beneficial for cardiovascular support, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol but also helps to create a healthy gut environment. Although it does contain gluten because it is a form of wheat, it is said to contain lower levels than modern strains of wheat. Farro, like beets, also contains high levels of B vitamins , magnesium, zinc and iron.
The credit for this recipe goes to Chef Jonathan of Appetite for Books.
Hope you love it!