Spinach and Beetroot Salad with Croutons

Today’s recipe is a delicious combo of beetroot, spinach, bread and chickpeas, mixed into a salad. Don’t worry if you don’t know what a crouton is, or how to pronounce it. It tastes great anyway! Enjoy the spinach and beetroot salad.

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min
Total time: 30 min
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Croutons (crisp bread cubes):

Naan, Pav Bhaji bread, or flatbread (preferably from the day before) 1/2
Sunflower or olive oil : 2 tbsp
Black/White Pepper Powder : 1 tsp

For the Salad:

Feta cheese (if not available, substitute with paneer): 150g
Cold-pressed olive oil : 2 tbsp
Chickpeas (Kabuli channa) : 160g
Cooked beetroot : 350g
Fresh baby spinach : 150g
Grenadine (pomegranate syrup; for fresh preparation: 1 large pomegranate + 2 tbsp of jaggery/organic sugar) : 3 tbsp
White tahini (white sesame paste; for fresh preparation: ½ cup of toasted white sesame seeds, 2 tbsp of mild olive or sesame oil) : 2 tsp
Lime juice : 4 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Also needed: Baking paper

Directions:

  • If you substitute feta cheese with paneer, cut the paneer in about 1/2-cm-thick slices and soak them in a mix of 1 tsp. of lime juice and 1 tsp. salt for 24 hours before use.
  • Soak the chickpeas for a minimum of 4 hours. Then cook them in a pressure cooker until soft but not mushy.
  • If you prepare the grenadine fresh, juice a large-sized pomegranate by squeezing the seeds through a cloth, add 2 tablespoons of jaggery or organic sugar and bring to a boil. Set aside and allow to cool.
  • If you prepare the tahini fresh, grind the toasted white sesame seeds in a grinder into a fine powder, add 2 tablespoons of oil and grind into a paste. Set aside.
  • For the croutons, cut the Naan/Pav/flatbread in 2-cm-wide strips, then into 2-cm-big cubes. Mix oil and white/black pepper powder in a big bowl, add bread cubes and coat them with the oil mix. Spread the bread cubes on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast in the preheated oven at 200° C (convection oven 180° C) on the middle rack for 5–10 minutes until crisp. Set aside to cool.
  • Cut the feta or paneer in 1-cm-big cubes; sauté them with a little oil in a pan until light brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • For the salad, in a big bowl, mix grenadine, tahini, lime juice, 100 ml of cold water, salt and pepper to taste. Vigorously stir in the oil with a wire whisk or egg beater.
  • Drain the chickpeas. Pat the beetroot dry; cut first in 1-cm-thick slices, then into equally thick strips.
  • Wash and pluck the spinach; pat it dry on a towel. Mix the chickpeas, beetroot and spinach with the dressing.
  • Arrange the salad on plates; top it with cheese cubes and croutons.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on an excerpt from the January 2015 issue of Forest Flower. Pay what you want and download. (set ‘0’ for free). Print subscriptions are also available.