When most people think about beetroot in salads, they thing of big vinegary, crinkle-cut chunks from a jar and immediately say no! But remember, beetroots are only vinegary when they're pickled. When simply boiled or roasted they are juicy and sweet as you like. Raw beetroot is amazing in salads, giving you a deep, earthy, minerally flavor, lots of crunch and, of course, incredible colors! Did you know you can get golden and stripy beetroot as well as purple? Have a look next time you're at a farmers' market or buy some seeds and grow a few yourself.

Remember to wear an apron when chopping beetroot, and wash your board and hands afterwards or you'll get red fingerprints everywhere. If your knife skills aren't up to speed yet, buy one of those matchstick peelers or matchstick mandolins in good cookware shops. Then you'll be really quick at it.
Servings: Serves 4
Beetroot Salad
  • 4 good-sized beetroots , lovely different colors if possible, scrubbed, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
  • 3 ripe pears or apples , peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 batch
  • lemon oil dressing (see below for recipe)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 ounces feta cheese
  • Small bunch fresh mint , smallest leaves picked
  • Large handful sunflower seeds , optional
Lemon Oil Dressing
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (the juice of approximately one lemon)
  • 10 Tbsp. best quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For Beetroot Salad:

Dress the beetroot and pear matchsticks in a little of the lemon oil dressing and season with some salt and pepper. Taste to check that the flavors are balanced and lovely, and add a little more lemon juice to check the sweetness of the pears and beetroots if you need to.

Divide the salad between four plates or put it on a big platter, crumble over the creamy white feta, and sprinkle over the baby mint leaves and the sunflower seeds if you're using them. Simple, but it's a treat and a half.

For Lemon Oil Dressing:
Put the lemon juice and oil into a jam jar and season. Tighten the lid and shake. Try out your dressing on a salad leaf and adjust the seasoning to taste.Use the dressing within 24 hours for the best flavor.

This recipe is taken from Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver (Hyperion). © Jamie Oliver, 2007