Roast Beetroot & Olive Salad with Aïoli

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

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Usually boiled, these baby beetroots are here roasted with chunks of red onion and tossed in a garlic mayonnaise. Raw onions and a garlic sauce? The combination sounds strident, but these are sweet mild onions and the garlic is cooked before being puréed and incorporated into the mayonnaise. The result is a successful balance of firm chunks of beet and crunchy onion, the aioli giving a moist rich gloss to the dish. This is a salad to serve when the new-season’s garlic is available.


  • 900 g/2 lb (2 bunches) small raw beetroots
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of new-seasons garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 24 kalamata olives

For the Herbed Aïoli

  • yolks of 2 eggs
  • 300 ml/½ pt sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper



Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas5.

Wash and trim the beetroots, brush them with olive oil and put on a roasting tray. Season with salt and pepper. Separate the garlic into cloves, toss with a little of the oil and reserve.


Roast the beetroots for 20 minutes. Add the garlic to the tray and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes more, until the beetroots and garlic are just done (push a skewer into a beetroot to check it is tender and continue cooking until they all are). Remove and leave to cool.

While they are cooling, make the herbed aïoli: peel the roasted garlic cloves and mash to a pulp. Whisk in the egg yolks, season with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Then add the sunflower oil, a few drops at a time to begin with, building to a thin stream as the sauce thickens.

Chop the oregano leaves and half the parsley and stir into the sauce.

Peel the beetroots, cut them into quarters and put in a bowl. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Add 4-5 tablespoons of the herbed aioli and toss to coat.


Transfer the salad to a serving dish, scatter over the olives and strew with the remaining parsley.

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