I love simple salads I can prepare easily, and serve as part of a larger vegetable feast. This Beetroot Salad with Dukkah and Whipped Feta is one such triumph! Simple to prepare and jam packed with flavour. It's actually a flavour sensation on every level. Sweetness, sourness, saltiness and a warm lingering spice! It has it all!
The pairing of all the elements work in complete harmony with each other. Beetroot has such a sweet earthiness - it's crying out for something salty to act as a counterbalance. This is where feta comes into play - it's one of my most favourite pairings. Usually I'll just crumble Bulgarian feta (the best) over some roasted beets (have you tried my Beetroot & Feta Salad With Fresh Herb Dressing? It's a delight!) but combining it with Greek yoghurt and whipping it into a smooth, creamy base to the salad ensures you get the full combination with every spoonful. Yoghurt and beet are another great combo (try my Turkish Beetroot & Yoghurt Dip!) the sour, acidic notes are great with the sweet beetroot.
Dukkah - the perfect nutty, spiced topping
Duqqa, du'ah, do'a, or dukkah is a Middle Eastern spice mix. Enjoyed from Egypt and all across the Middle East and Mediterranean it is a combination of nuts and spices, much like Za'atar - a dry spice mix, served as a condiment/dip with breads, vegetables and as a garnish to many soups, stews and salads. The ingredients of Dukkah vary from region to region, and indeed family to family, but loosely speaking, the core ingredients most always include hazelnuts, sesame, cumin and coriander. The ingredients are dry roasted, then ground into a coarse breadcrumb texture. This ensures a wonderful texture with a nutty, warm spice.
It's the perfect accompaniment to this salad with all it's soft, creamy texture. The spiced crunch at the end releases all manner of complimentary flavours to the earthy, sweet and sharp salad. Dukkah is available pre-ground, but like most things in the culinary world, the most flavourful versions are the home-made. My dukkah recipe is simple, but obviously, this dish will work with store-bought dukkah too.
So, as a dish to serve alongside a roasted meat or fish, this salad is superb - it brings a real punch of flavour that will pair wonderfully with almost anything. If you're vegetarian, this salad works well with other Middle Eastern recipes or Mediterranean recipes I've selected a few favourites below. If, like me, you're a fan of beetroot (one of my personal favourites!) you'll love this simple, health giving salad.
More delicious Middle Eastern & Mediterranean recipes
This salad plays well with likeminded flavours from around the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. Try creating a few (or all ) of these recipes and serve them on a giant table for everyone to dip, weave, scoop and fight over. Just be sure to invite me!
Arrange hazelnuts, sesame, cumin and coriander on a baking tray.Skewer each beetroot with a sharp knife then wrap individually with foil. Place in a separate roasting tin.Put both trays in the oven
For the dukkah
Roast the dukkah ingredients for 8 minutes then remove. Cool slightly then using a food processor, pulse the dukkah a few times so that you have a rough consistency, like breadcrumbs. Season with a little salt and set aside.
For the beetroot
Roast the beetroot for up to 1 hour (depending how large they are). A knife should glide through the beetroot easily. Remove once soft and cool for 10 minutes.
Peel off the skin. It should come off easily. Chop the beetroot into bitesize chunks and toss through the white wine vinegar, olive oil and season lightly with salt & pepper. Set aside.
For the whipped feta
In a blender or using a stick blender, blend together the feta, yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic until smooth. Place in fridge.
Arranging the dish
Make a layer of the whipped feta in the bottom a shallow serving bowl. Carefully spoon over the beetroot and then generously scatter over the dukkah. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle over more olive oil if you like (I like).