Rocket salad with roasted beetroot, feta cheese and pine nuts

Rocket Salad with beets and feta June finally came and thanks God it brought also longer warmer days with nice breeze and showers here and there. The so called „naked period“ is coming so all the time devoted to...

Rocket Salad with beets and feta
Rocket Salad with beets and feta

June finally came and thanks God it brought also longer warmer days with nice breeze and showers here and there. The so called „naked period“ is coming so all the time devoted to jogging, gym and other sports is about to be repaied. We successfully opened beach vollyeball season last week. It felt so good having feet immersed in hot sand again, the only thing missing was the splashing of waves. Guess that sea has some special kind of energy, especially for us who live in the inland. I could sit and watch the waves coming forth and back forever, can´t wait to stand on a coast this summer again (although I have no idea which coast it is about to be as my summer plans are being created and devastated at gale force speed this year, seems like very spontanious holiday 2013). Hoping for Tuscany with its red roofs, markets on the streets, brick farmhouses, vineyards (and wine) and all those elegant slim trees decorating the roads of countryside. Sounds dreamy doesn´t it? Anyways if this imagination comes true you are definitely gonna hear about it and see some pictures of this country filled with sun as well.

During such days our body is naturally searching for light meal, we don´t need as many calories as during the winter days to keep our body at an apropriate temperature, cutting down on soups, cooked dishes and meals rich in sacharids. Salads are often a good choice, adding proteins like tuna, smoked salmon, roastbeef or just eggs keep you without hunger for longer time. The recipe you are facing is a combination of not very common and contrasting flavors. Strong spicy rocket, sweet baked beetroot, salty feta and sour vinegar with slightly spicy dijon mustard form a full stong flavor that is refreshing at hot days. You can use roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds as a substitute for nuts, I prefer the taste of pine nuts especially when they are roasted their flavour changes remarkably (on a dry pan, you don´t need to use any oil as nuts themselves contain a significant amount of fat). Moreover, both beetroot and ruccola are often stated to be aphrodisiacs, so use this recipe as you wish either for its nutritional or aphrodisiac benefits.

Rocket Salad with Roasted Beet Root, Feta Cheese and Pine Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 100 g of rocket
  • ½  lettuce
  • 3 small beetroots
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of balsamico vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon  of dijon mustard with honey, may be separately
  • Pinch of salt

    Rocket
    Rocket

Instructions:                   

  1. Peel the beetroot, cut in quaters and then in triangels about ½ cm strong. Spread on preoiled baking sheet, salt and bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes.
  2. In a pan roast pine nuts at low heat until golder brown, be very attentive as they burn quickly causing the flavor to be bitter.
  3. Shower and drain  both lettuce and rocket, cut the lettuce in stripes or just tear into smaller pieces and put in a big bowl.
  4. Let the beetroot cool and add to the leaf mixture together with crumbled feta cheese.
  5. For dressing mix oil, vinegar, mustard and salt in a small bowl and pour over the mixture. Mix lightly so that the dressing coats well all the leaves.
  6. Finally sprinkle with roasted pine nuts.

Roasted Beets and pine nuts
Roasted Beets and pine nuts

Beetroot (table beet)

- contains potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid

- when buying one look for firm bulbs with fresh green leaves, the leaves can be used in a same way as a baby spinach

- smaller „baby beetroots“ have milder and more intensive taste

- may also be added to sponge cakes (similarly as carrot or zucchini) so that they weren´t dry but moist and juicy

- betanin that is present in roots are used as food colourants to intensify the colour of tomato products, sweets, jams etc.

- may cause pink urine in some people

- since Roman times has been viewed as an aphrodisiac

- is low in calories- energy per 100g is 162 kJ / 38 kcal

- has been found to improve performance in athletes, possibly because of its abundance of nitrites

Roasting Beetroots
Roasting Beetroots

Rocket

- arugula, salad rocket, garden rocket

- is rich in calcium, iron and vitamin C

- is grown mostly in France and Italy

- goes well with goat cheese, carpaccio, risottos and is often added also on pizza, in salads I like to combine it with other green leaf salads with more neutral flavour like lettuce. It has been planted since Roman times at that period the so said sexually stimulating rucola was combined with caming and innocent lettuce

- not very known is a liqueur rucolino, it has stong sweet spicy flavor and is often consumed as a digestive after meals like more popular grappa

Nutritional values (per 100 g) -  Energy 25 kcal, Proteins 2.58 g, Carbohydrates 3.65 g

Rocket Salad with beets and feta
Rocket Salad with beets and feta