This vibrant, textured salad is the perfect starter for kicking off your Christmas dinner. Pairing sweet, earthy beetroot in a fragrant herb crust with the crunchy walnuts and creamy goat's cheese, it feels luxurious but is so easy to make.
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Wash the beetroots, then put in a large square of foil with the thyme sprigs. Wrap up in a tightly-sealed, but loose parcel, and bake on a baking tray for 40-45 minutes, until tender. Leave the oven on, but set aside the beetroot parcel to cool for 10 minutes before opening. Wearing rubber gloves, rub the skin from the beets and cut into wedges.
- Spread the walnut pieces out on a baking tray. Toast in the oven for about 6-7 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool, then finely crush or chop half of the pieces. Put the crushed walnuts in a medium bowl with the chopped herbs and plenty of black pepper. Mix well. Drop a teaspoonful of cheese into the bowl and toss gently to coat in the nut mixture. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remainder of the cheese to make 12 (depending on size) lightly-coated pieces.
- Cut the bread into crouton-sized cubes and put in a mixing bowl. Toss with the crushed garlic and 1 tbsp olive oil and spread out on a nonstick baking tray. Season well. Bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway, until golden and crisp.
- In a small bowl, whisk the remaining olive oil with the sherry vinegar to combine. Divide the beetroot wedges, croutons and goat’s cheese pieces between 4 serving plates. Drizzle with the dressing and scatter with the reserved walnut pieces.
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