I’m always on the look out for new side dishes. A lot of our meals are based around grilled/roasted meats and poultry so my repertoire of side dishes is pretty expansive but even so I never seem to have enough for a good rotation. With the evenings becoming cooler (only just – it’s almost the end of Autumn and we’re having the most amazing Indian summer) I’m leaning towards warm salads and this mix of roasted beetroot and heirloom carrots is really good. I like to roast the beetroot, carrots and onions all on the one sheet pan which saves on time and washing up, making this nice and easy to prepare. If you have too much going on in the oven and can’t roast the vegetables at the last minute just roast them ahead of time and keep them at room temperature in an oven proof dish, then just before serving give them a quick blast in the oven for 5 minutes or even in the microwave. I sometimes serve this at room temperature rather than warm which eliminates any last minute fiddling. I served this as a side dish but it would be lovely as a first course as well.
Ingredients – Serves 4 as a side dish or first course
6 medium size beetroot, use different colours and varieties if you can find them
2 bunches of baby carrots, again use heirloom carrots in different colours if you can
3 small red onions
A few large handfuls of sturdy salad leaves such as rocket or baby kale
1 tablespoon caster sugar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup goats curd – you can substitute with soft goats cheese
Preheat oven to 200C. Wash and trim the beetroot and cut them in half or quarters if they are large. Peel and trim the baby carrots. Peel and slice the red onions into large wedges. Place all the vegetables on a large sheet pan in separate rows – this will stop the colour from the beetroots bleeding into the other vegetables. Season each vegetable well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the beetroot and carrots then drizzle all the vegetables with half of the balsamic vinegar and some olive oil. Using your hands lightly toss each row of vegetables ensuring they are well coated with oil, balsamic and seasoning.
Place the vegetables in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. At this stage the onions should be ready and if they are you can remove them. Continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are golden and cooked through. The beetroot may take the longest time – just remove the vegetables as they become ready and set aside.
To make the dressing, place the remaining balsamic vinegar, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper into a small screw top jar and add an equal amount of olive oil. Shake vigorously until well combined. Place the salad leaves on a platter or shallow salad dish and toss lightly with some of the dressing. Lightly toss the roasted vegetables with the remaining dressing and combine them with the salad leaves. To finish dot the salad with small spoons of the goats curd, serve warm or at room temperature.