Get 2016 off to the right start with Guy Awford‘s delicious, healthy beet salad with walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate

January may be a month for diets and restraint, but with so much fantastic seasonal British produce available, there’s no excuse for boring and bland food. Bright, lively and above all nutritious, my beet salad is based around four simple ingredients – beetroot, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate – which are packed with essential vitamins and minerals to give you an energy boost. The addition of labne, fresh mint and sumac gives the dish a Middle Eastern flavour to keep spirits high through the cold winter.

For this dish you’ll need to source young beetroots with the leaves still intact. Some decent greengrocers may stock these, but your best bet is your local farmers’ market. Choose a selection of candy, golden and red as the bright colours will look stunning together.

The texture in this dish comes from the walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Toast them first in a dry pan to intensify the crunch and flavour. The mint and dill add an aromatic freshness. There is no need to chop them. Just tear a few fresh leaves and fronds and toss in at the last minute.

Labne is yoghurt that has been strained to remove the whey. To make it yourself, place the yoghurt in a bowl and stir in a little salt. Line a small bowl with several layers of muslin and pour the yoghurt into this. Draw the muslin in and twist to form a tight ball. Tie off with kitchen twine, suspend over a deep bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

Beet Salad with Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Pomegranate & Labne

Bright, lively and above all nutritious, this beet salad is based around four simple ingredients – beetroot, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate

  • Prep Time 30
  • Cook Time 45
  • Serves 4


600g young mixed beetroot with leaves attached; red, candy and golden
30g toasted walnuts
20g toasted pumpkin seeds
4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
100g roughly torn dill & mint
4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
100g labne, or thickened yoghurt
Pinch sumac
Wash the beetroot thoroughly and then snip off their leaves
Toss them in seasoned oil, place in a baking tray covered tightly with foil and bake at 190°C for 40 minutes or until tender
Allow to cool a little then rub off the skins and cut the larger ones into wedges
Whisk the rapeseed oil with the pomegranate molasses and season to taste
Arrange the leaves and beetroot in a large serving dish. Drizzle over the dressing and scatter over the herbs, nuts and the seeds. Toss together
Dollop on a few spoonfuls of labne
Sprinkle over a generous pinch of sumac

By Guy Awford

Guy Awford is chef-patron of &