Roast beetroot, caramelised carrots and silken tofu: Ravinder Bhogal’s winter salad recipes

Roast beetroot, caramelised carrots and silken tofu: Ravinder Bhogal’s winter salad recipes

Salads in winter may seem as preposterous as a bikini, but these ones are the equivalent of layering clothes – except here the toasty layers are made up of robust seasonal fruit and vegetables in place of fragile, leafy greens, and of assertive dressings and the satisfying crunch of nuts and seeds. Whether you are seeking atonement for the excesses of Christmas or just craving something lighter, brighter and more refreshing, they are both vibrant and filling enough to eat for lunch or dinner without the need for any accompaniments.

Chaat masala roast beetroots and shallots with coconut, cashews and curry leaf oil
Earthy beetroot and shallots come alive with a sprinkle of deeply savoury chaat masala and a warming, south Indian-style tempered oil.

Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

500g small beetroot, scrubbed and halved
Rapeseed oil, to drizzle
2 tsp chaat masala
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g shallots, peeled and halved
30g unsweetened desiccated coconut
50g cashew nuts

For the curry leaf oil
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp white urid dal (split black gram)
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
A pinch of asafoetida
15 fresh curry leaves
1 Kashmiri or mild chilli, broken into pieces
Juice of 1 lime

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put the beetroot in a roasting tin, lightly drizzle with a little oil, add half the chaat masala, season and roast for about 15 minutes. Add the shallots, drizzle over a little more oil and the remaining chaat masala, toss and roast for another 40 minutes, until the beets and shallots are tender and caramelised. Add the coconut and cashews, roast for three minutes more, until golden brown, then remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil for the tempering in a small frying pan. Sizzle the dal and mustard seeds, until the mustard seeds pop, then sprinkle in the asafoetida, curry leaves and chilli, and fry for a few seconds more. Transfer the beetroot and shallots to a platter, spoon over the oil and mix gently. Squeeze over the lime juice and serve.

Sticky spiced honey-roast carrot and hazelnut salad with freekeh, dates and orange blossom water
Dependable carrots rarely get star billing, but when roasted until caramelised with a spiced honey butter and perfumed with orange blossom water, they steal the show.

Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

For the carrots
300g small yellow carrots
300g small orange carrots (or 600g if you can’t find yellow carrots)
75g unsalted butter

1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
1 fat pinch saffron strands, pounded
½ tsp turmeric
1 generous grating nutmeg
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 preserved lemon, skin and flesh very finely chopped
2 tbsp clear honey
A few drops orange blossom water

For the freekeh
200g freekeh, rinsed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
60g dates, stoned and sliced (I can’t resist the ones from Zaytoun)
50g toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or chervil, to serve

Heat the oven to 200 C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Scrape the carrots, cut them in half vertically and lay in a roasting pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat with the ginger, cinnamon, allspice, saffron, turmeric, nutmeg, garlic and preserved lemon, stir and leave for five minutes, to infuse gently. Whisk in the honey, pour the mix all over the carrots, then cover tightly with foil and roast for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil (keep it for later) and roast uncovered for a further 10-15 minutes, until the carrots are tender and caramelised. Remove from the oven, sprinkle over a few drops of orange blossom water, re-cover with the foil and leave the carrots to steam in the perfume.

Meanwhile, dry roast the freekeh in a frying pan until toasty. Put 400ml water and a teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in the toasted freekeh, stir, bring back to a boil, then cover, turn the heat down low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the freekeh is tender and just about all the water has evaporated. Drain and transfer to a platter.

Mix the oil, lemon juice and seasoning, then pour the dressing over the freekeh, toss to coat and leave to cool. Once cooled, add the dates and half the hazelnuts and herbs to the freekeh platter, and toss again. Top with the carrots, scatter over the remaining herbs and hazelnuts, and serve.

Shaved turnips with silken tofu, chilli, sesame and soy
Peppery turnips and radishes are balanced with the sweet sharpness of apples and a zesty soy dressing, while the tofu bulks up the protein to make a satiating and refreshing salad.

Prep 25 min
Serves 4

400g small turnips, 1 watermelon radish and 2 granny smith apples, all peeled and thinly shaved on a mandoline (or cut into paper-thin rounds)
1 handful each coriander and mint leaves
1 handful watercress, tough stems removed
300g soft silken tofu, thinly sliced

For the dressing
100ml lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1 finger of ginger, peeled and very finely grated
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp caster sugar

To garnish
1 handful crispy shallots
1 long red chilli, finely sliced on the diagonal
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Shake all the dressing ingredients in a sealed jar. Mix the turnips, radish and apples with the coriander, mint and watercress on a platter, then top with the tofu. Spoon over the dressing, garnish with the shallots, chilli and toasted sesame seeds, and serve.