4 medium beets
4 medium leeks, cut into 4-inch pieces
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1¼ cups lettuce, in small bites
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tamarind water (optional)
½ teaspoon walnut oil
2½ tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Wrap beets in parchment paper and then aluminum foil and roast them in the oven for 1½ hours, depending on their size. Once cooked, you should be able to stick a small knife in the center easily. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
3. Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets and halve them, then cut into wedges. Put in a medium bowl and set aside.
4. Place the leeks in a medium pan with salted water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes, until just cooked; it’s important to simmer them gently so they don’t fall apart. Drain and refresh under cold water, then use a very sharp knife to cut each segment into 3 smaller pieces and pat dry. Transfer to a bowl, separate from the beets, and set aside.
5. While the vegetables are cooking, mix together all the dressing ingredients and leave to one side for at least 10 minutes for all the flavors to come together.
6. Divide the walnut dressing and the cilantro equally between the beets and the leeks and toss gently. Taste both and add more salt if needed.
7. To put the salad together, spread most of the beets on a serving platter, top with some lettuce, then most of the leeks, then the remaining beets, and finish with more leeks and lettuce. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, if available, and serve.