Roasted Beetroot, Candied Walnut & Goat’s Cheese Salad

Earthy beetroot works so well with salty and creamy goat’s cheese and it’s a classic flavour combination that I never tire of. I’ve used a selection of different coloured beetroot which looks really pretty on the plate, and cooked and raw beets for added texture, but you can stick with purple beetroot if that’s all you can get hold of. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Found in this book

Ainsley's Good Mood Food

Ebury Books


Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

Place the purple beetroot in a roasting tin and add about a 6mm depth of water. Cover the tin with foil and roast for 40–50 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool, then use your fingers (you may want to wear gloves!) or kitchen paper to rub the skins from the beetroot. Cut into wedges.

Meanwhile, cut the heritage or rainbow beetroot into very thin slices, using either a mandoline or a very sharp knife. Put into a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Lightly season and pour half over the thinly sliced raw beetroot. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes while the purple beetroot is roasting.

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Place the sugar, butter and chilli flakes (if using) in a small non-stick frying pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring, until the butter and sugar have melted and turned lightly golden. Stir in the walnuts for a minute until the nuts are nicely coated. Pour out onto the lined baking sheet and use two forks to quickly separate the nuts. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and leave to cool completely.

To serve, arrange the thinly sliced discs of marinated beetroot on a plate then pile the wedges of roasted beetroot on top. Scatter over the goat’s cheese, mint and candied walnuts and top with salad leaves. Sprinkle over some orange zest, drizzle over the remaining dressing and season with a little flaky sea salt.



  • For the Salad
  • 4–6 medium-sized purple beetroot, scrubbed and trimmed
  • 2–4 medium-sized heritage or rainbow beetroot, trimmed and peeled
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp butter
  • a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 60g walnut halves, toasted
  • 150g goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 6–8 mint leaves, shredded
  • a handful of lamb’s lettuce or watercress
  • zest of ½ orange
  • flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Dressing
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard or horseradish
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • zest and juice of ½ orange