Salads are dishes consisting of raw or cooked vegetables, meat or seafood, which may be mixed with a sauce or topped with a dressing. They can be served as appetizers, main courses, side salad or dessert salad.

The word “Salad” originates from the French “Salade”; sharing the same meaning with the Latin word “Salata” meaning salty or from “sal” meaning salt.

Salads are hot or cold, classical or contemporary, cooked or uncooked, simple (with one ingredient) or compound (with many ingredients) and may also include leftovers from a previous meal or carbohydrate ingredients like pasta, fresh or dried herbs like oregano, poached or boiled eggs or even lentils.

Salads originated in Europe, predominantly from France, Rome and Greece in the early 1700’s. The cuisines of these places have always been very balanced and the intake of salads has helped them live a healthy lifestyle.

In the early 19th century, America picked up on the trend of salads and made it their own by developing the “Salad Bar” concept, wherein every restaurant would have an unlimited salad buffet as a starter for any meal menu. Countries such as Japan, Australia and China followed suit.

Making a salad is an art and has 4 components, to learn more about the different components of a salad and the vital role of each of these components play in the final dish, you can go through the introductory lesson - Salads, Freshness in your Plate.

Salad Recipe of the Day - Beetroot & Rocket Salad

About Beetroot & Rocket Salad

The origin of the Beetroot and Rocket Salad is actually unknown. It is a contemporary salad, which is believed to have been thrown together with leftover ingredients.

The slightly peppery flavor of the rocket leaves matches well with the sweetness of beetroot, the tang of the goat cheese, creamy texture of avocado and the warm crunch of the walnut, beautifully complimenting each other. The balsamic dressing is a perfect match for this salad, with its dark golden syrupy consistency that clings easily to the rocket leaves and the excess getting soaked up by the goat cheese.

This Dish

Roasted beetroot, tossed with rocket leaves, goat cheese chunks, avocado and crunchy walnuts drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette is an accurate description of this salad.

Recipe Card (to serve 4 pax)

Ingredients Quantity
Beetroot (peeled & cubed) 3 pieces
Rocket (fresh) 2 handfuls
Dried apricots (chopped) 5 pieces
Toasted walnuts (roughly chopped) 60g
For the Vinaigrette
Balsamic vinegar 10ml
Shallots, thinly sliced 3 tbsp
Honey 1 tsp
Extra-virgin olive oil 25-30ml
Salt & freshly ground black pepper as required
To Serve
Avocado (cubed) ½ piece
Lemon Juice 1 tbsp
Goat cheese as required
Parsley 1 tsp
Olive oil as required

Method of Cooking

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, shallots, honey in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper as required.
  3. Toss the beetroot in a small bowl with enough vinaigrette dressing to coat. Place the beetroot in an oven tray and roast for about 25 minutes. Until caramelized and soft.
  4. In a bowl toss the rocket with olive oil, salt & pepper. Then add the walnuts, dried apricots, beetroot and mix with the remaining vinaigrette dressing.
  5. Cube the avocado and toss in the lemon juice to prevent it from getting discolored.
  6. Top the salad with avocado and goat cheese, sprinkle with parsley, drizzle with olive oil and serve.