Nasturtium, Beetroot and Walnut Summer Salad

Nasturtium, Beetroot and Walnut Summer Salad not only looks incredible but also tastes incredible. Nasturtiums are the stars of this dish. Nasturtiums are probably the easiest edible flower to get hold of and they are the most striking. I remember first eating nasturtiums as a child. My Nana was growing some in her back garden and they were everywhere. I thought she was trying to trick me when she said we could eat them. They tasted incredible. Nasturtiums remind me of hot summers and beautiful warm carpet of colours.

The nasturtium (tropaeolum majus) is a climbing, sprawling hardy annual. Once the plant is established it just keeps on growing and giving and one plant will produce huge amounts of edible flowers and leaves for around 10 weeks (both flowers and the leaves are edible). Nasturtiums have a peppery sweet taste – a little bit like a floral watercress.

You can use any relatively mild, lettuce you like in this salad, I used a mixture of lollo rosso, lollo biondo and oak leaf. The nuttyness of the oak leaf works really well with the walnuts. Stay away from very strong favoured leaves as they will overpower the nasturtiums.

This Nasturtium, Beetroot and Walnut Summer Salad is very easy to pull together and looks amazing.

Nasturtium, Beetroot and Walnut Summer Salad is perfect for a light lunch, salad course with dinner or part of a very striking buffet. Great as a side to Ratatouille, Gluten Free, Vegan Quiche or Roasted Squash Soup.

The Nasturtium, Beetroot and Walnut Summer Salad is gluten-free and vegan as well as… celery free, coconut free, garlic free, lupin free, mustard free*, nightshade free, onion free, peanut free, sesame free, soya free, tree nut free*.

*To make Nasturtium, Beetroot and Walnut Summer Salad tree nut free leave out the walnuts and substitute the walnut oil for rapeseed oil in the vinaigrette.
*To make Nasturtium, Beetroot and Walnut Summer Salad mustard free dress the salad with oil and vinegar.

When choosing the flowers and leaves pick whole flowers and leaves in good condition.

Difficulty easy
Serves 4-6
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 0 minutes

Ingredients – Salad
350 grams walnuts
15-20 young nasturtium leaves
12 whole nasturtium flowers – stems removed
1 small/ medium (~60 grams) curly lettuce (I used a mixture of lollo rosso, lollo biondo and oak leaf)
150 grams cooked beetroot (use small beetroot and make sure it is not in vinegar)

Ingredients – Vinaigrette
6 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
0.5 teaspoon sea salt flakes
0.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Gently toast the walnuts in a hot, dry pan. Once they start to colour and you smell the toasting remove from the pan and allow to cool
2. Scatter the nasturtium leaves round a wide, deep salad bowl.
3. Gently tear the lettuce leaves into bit sized pieces and scatter over the nasturtium leaves
4. Slice the beetroots very thinly and add to the bowl. Mix gently (but not too much)
5. Scatter the nasturtium flowers and cooled walnuts over the top
5. In a jar (with a well fitting lid) place the cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. Put the lid on the jar and shake really well. Allow to stand for a few minutes. Add the walnut oil, sea salt and black pepper and shake again until well mixed
6. To serve, shake the vinaigrette and dress the salad.