Wikipedia says: “A “Throw Together Salad” is a salad that can be made largely by combining together ingredients that require little to no chopping.”
I’m joking!! But if there were a definition of a Throw Together Salad, that’s what it would be!
For a quick-fix-meals blog, I have no idea why it took me this long to post a Throw Together Salad. Rest assured this will be rectified in the coming weeks as I intend to share a series of Throw Together Salads.
A Throw Together Salad is exactly what it sounds like – a salad that is largely “thrown together”, without the need for messy chopping. Well, I can think of only a couple of salads that require absolutely zero chopping, so I’m bending the rules a little bit so my Throw Together Salads are salads that require very little chopping.
“This is an elegant salad that’s not only fast, but also really cheap to make.”
This one is a classic flavour combination: Rocket (Arugula) with Beetroot, Feta, Walnut and a Honey Balsamic Dressing. It’s often made with goats cheese, but that is much more expensive than feta (at least, it is here in Australia) and I find that for a salad where you just scatter over a crumbling of cheese, there’s really no need to use goats cheese. In fact, I bet most people wouldn’t know the difference, especially if you use Danish Feta, the texture of which is practically the same as goats cheese but it costs a fraction of the price. You can get Danish Feta at major supermarkets in Australia at the deli counter for around $10/kg ($5/lb). You only need about 70g/2oz to make a side salad for 4.
The slightly peppery flavour of the rocket lettuce matches so well with the sweetness of beetroot, the creamy tang of the feta and warm crunch of the walnut. And the balsamic dressing is the perfect match for this salad, with it’s dark golden syrupy consistency that clings to the rocket leaves and gets soaked up by the feta.
The scattering of walnuts really takes this to the next level, and you only need a few tablespoons. At my local fruit & veg store (for those that live in Australia – Harris Farms!), you can buy walnuts by weight so it literally cost me less than a dollar for a small handful.
“You don’t need to use expensive balsamic vinegar to make a great dressing. Just add honey.”
There’s no need to use expensive balsamic either. The secret to making a great syrupy salad dressing using any balsamic is to add honey. It not only thickens the dressing but it adds warmth to the flavour that you can’t get using just sugar.
And lastly, my time saving tip is to buy canned baby beetroots. If you are lucky enough to open the can and find that they are in fact baby beetroots, then you don’t even need to cut them. But I opened the can today to find that they were rather large baby so I cut them into quarters.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe! Super simple.
- 250g/8oz canned baby beetroot, halved or quartered if they are large
- 120g/4oz baby rocket (arugula) leaves
- 60g feta (preferably Danish, otherwise Greek), or goats cheese
- 3 tbsp walnuts, lightly crushed with your fingers
- 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (ordinary, not aged or glazed)
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Combine the Dressing ingredients in a jar, and shake well. You might need a spoon to break up the honey to mix it in properly. Adjust salt to your taste.
- Place rocket lettuce in a serving bowl.
- Scatter over beetroot. No need to toss - because of the weight, it should disperse throughout fairly well.
- Crumble over the feta and scatter with walnuts.
- Drizzle over dressing and serve.
2. If you don't have walnuts, you can use other nuts like cashews, almonds or even sunflower seeds. The nuts add texture which is partly what makes this salad so great.