??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????This is a perfect winter salad and makes a great addition to any special occasion meal. I prefer the version with beets, onions and figs roasted with the garlic and olive oil and served warm with the greens. However, the beets could be fermented instead to make this a nice summer salad with raw figs, onions and garlic instead of roasted.

Serves 2

1 small to medium-sized red beet, washed and peeled

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 small onion, cut into slices and 1/2 rings*

1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp pine nuts, slightly roasted (or cashew pieces)

3-4 cups salad greens (your choice of greens such as leaf lettuce, curly endive, romaine lettuce or your favourite mixture of baby greens)

2 ripe dried or fresh figs, cut into quarters or eighths

2 ounces (60 g) aged raw milk cheddar cheese**, cut into wedges or chunks

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

The Dressing:

1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or aged balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp raw honey

1 tablespoon pomegranate juice (preferably fresh)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the beet into 8-12 wedges. Place is a baking dish and mix with the garlic, thyme and olive oil. Place the onion on top but do not mix together unless you want it pink. Drizzle a couple of tsp of olive oil onto the onions*. Cover and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the beets are soft but not mushy and the onions are cooked. At about the 15 minute mark, add  the figs. It is best to mix these with the oil and beets but this means everything will be pink. The figs do not have to be roasted but roasted like this makes them very tasty. Remove from the oven and set aside. While roasting the beets, place the pine nuts on a tray and put in the oven at the same time for about 5 minutes.

To make the dressing: Bang the pomegranate with a rolling pin to loosen the seeds. Cut the pomegranate in half. With the seeds still inside, squeeze out the juice through a strainer or sieve that is resting in a bowl. Remove the seeds and place them in a strainer or a sieve and press the seeds so more of the juice is released into the bowl. Remove a tablespoon  for the dressing and store the rest of the juice for future use as it will last for a few days in the fridge or you can freeze it (I just drink it). Add all the dressing ingredients to a jar or small bowl and whisk. Place the salad greens on a plate. Top with the beets, onions and figs. This tastes best when the beets are still warm but not hot. Sprinkle on the pine nuts and the sprinkle the dressing over the salad.

*The onions can be left out of the oven and used raw if that is your choice.

**Aged cheddar cheese is quite sharp in taste so if that is not your taste preference, try a milder cheese such as feta or gruyere as these would also work in this recipe.

To learn more about beets: Taking Beets Off The Naughty List